Steve Spooner pleased with end of season surge

Blues Under-18s Coach Steve Spooner
Blues Under-18s Coach Steve Spooner

Blues Under-18s have scored 16 times in the last four matches

Blues Under-18s have finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak.

And the Blues youths have cut loose in front of goal, too.

They have netted 16 times in those matches, including the remarkable 6-2 victory at Burnley Under-18s, when they trailed 2-0 at the break.

Bolton Wanderers Under-18s were the most recent team to be put to the sword in the PDL, 4-2 at the Trillion Trophy Training Centre, Wast Hills.

Adan George scored twice - taking his tally to eight goals in five matches - and trialist Jayden Reid also helped himself to a couple.

Commenting on the match, Lead Professional Development Coach Spooner said: "I thought we huffed and puffed at times in the first-half.

"Second-half, we had a little bit of a clearer picture about what we were trying to do.

"I think with the power and pace we had up front, we always looked like we would score goals. I think that's 16 goals in four or five games now.

"It can't just be about the striker. It's the quality of the ball, the movement of the striker, the assessment of the correct ball to play.

"And particularly in the second-half you saw some really good examples of that.

"The young boys out there, the Under-16s, I thought they were very, very good. Really pleased with them.

"I didn't think we had enough tempo in our game first-half. We spoke to them about it.

"Pass on the back foot, so players can get on the half-turn, instead of passing to the front foot, which we did at times, which meant we couldn't turn round and play forward.

"We kept going backwards. But that second-half we had a clearer picture of what we were trying to do.

"And, with any team, if you keep moving the ball round with tempo it means people have to run faster and further.

"We keep saying that to them; if you pass slow, the opponents don't have to change pace and they can get to the ball.

"We didn't pass the ball quickly enough and nor did we have enough movement first-half - and those two things are very closely linked together."

Blues were 1-0 up at the interval, but were soon pegged back by Bolton before running away with it.

George, 16, was at the focal point of that, once more showing his positional savvy and finishing capabilities.

Said Spooner: "He's had a fantastic end to the campaign. Thirteen, 14 goals for the season.

"He looks a real threat. There are still areas of the game he needs to tidy up on, particularly with his back to the goal.

"But he is a real threat. He has a physique like a middleweight boxer and you get him running in the channels against you, when he uses his strength as well as his pace, then he causes a problem."

Blues finished in seventh spot in the PDL 2. They won 12 and lost 13 of their 28 games, drawing just three times.

Next up, they face FFDTV Academy on Saturday before taking on Manchester United at St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium over May Bank Holiday weekend.

"It has been good," said Spooner, reflecting on the way Blues have performed these past few weeks. I just wish the season can carry on now.

"You get your peaks and troughs in a season, though.

"We have got two games left. Two friendlies. A bit of a recruitment/trial game on Saturday then Manchester United at St. Andrew's. We want to give a good account of ourselves in that."