Brighton & Hove Albion joint under-18 coach Mark Beard reflected on a game of high drama, as his side claimed a dramatic 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory over West Ham United in the FA Youth Cup.
Albion and the Hammers battled their way through an epic cup tie with the score at 1-1 after 120 minutes before the decisive spot-kicks, and Beard was delighted with the way his side improved throughout the contest.
He said, “It was a fantastic cup game. The FA Youth Cup is always special anyway and the game had everything.
“We started very sloppily in the first half, conceded the goal and couldn’t find any rhythm. But as the first half wore on, we got more into it.
“We had a game plan before the game, which was to attack them in the wide areas and we weren’t doing that at the beginning.
“We had a chat at half time and I thought they were fantastic in the second half and all the way through extra time. We created so many opportunities and I thought we deserved the win.”
The under-18 coach is now eager to progress as far as possible in the competition, and explained how the emphasis is placed much more on results in the FA Youth Cup as opposed to the league games programme.
"There is a lot of inconsistency in youth football, as we’re trying to develop the players, but the Youth Cup is about winning and getting through to the next round.
“I won the Youth Cup as a player and I said to the players it’s the best competition in the world for Youth football.
“I want them to go as far as they can, and they’ll remember nights like this for the rest of their lives. They deserve it."