Under-18s Head Coach Simon Wiles gave his verdict on Wednesday evening’s penalty shootout win over Tranmere Rovers in the First Round of the FA Youth Cup at Highbury.
After trailing on three separate occasions, goals from Donte Thompson-Prempeh, Kyle King, and Harry Clarke ensured the scoreline was 3-3 after 120 minutes. An intense shootout followed but Town came out victors when goal scorer Clarke scored the decisive fifth penalty.
Here's what Wiles had to say:
On the game…
“It’s a fantastic result, a fantastic evening for everybody involved. It’s been coming. We’ve had a few tough fixtures in the league campaign, and it was really pleasing for us to put everything into place tonight for the FA Youth Cup to give us the opportunity to get through to the second round. It was a really pleasing night.
“I would’ve liked to have kept a couple out and for it to have been a bit smoother, but it just shows the character that the lads have built up across the first three or four months of the season. They’re working for each other; they’re working hard day by day in training and the resilience of the players really epitomised what we’re about at Fleetwood Town.
“There was a stage where we had 12 or 13 players out. We’ve still got nine out at the moment but the fact that you can see how eager Kyle (King) was and Harry (Clarke) was to get themselves back onto the pitch and Connor (Eastham) wanted to play so it’s important now that we control how much they play after tonight. I’m pleased we’ve got them back in the team.”
On the penalty shootout…
“We love the FA Youth Cup. We knew tonight was going to be a tough fixture but the fact that the boys have shown that composure at the end in the penalty shootout to put us through to the next round was fantastic.
“We focused a lot yesterday on our penalties, we replicated it. We went through a running order, really confident with the players. We went through a training session where they scored every time, every one of the players so that was a really pleasing thought for us going into the penalties.
“Just remain calm, have that composure, and don’t change anything in terms of where you want to go, and the players replicated it and put us through to the second round so we’re absolutely delighted.”