MU21s show 'perseverance' to overcome Forest

Shannon Ruth reflects on his side's win over Nottingham Forest, that extended their winning run in Premier League 2 to three matches.

By Nick Szczepanik • 04 September 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Mark O'Mahony has had an excellent start to the season.

Men’s under-21s head coach Shannon Ruth was pleased with his team’s perseverance on Friday evening as they overcame a different challenge from those posed by their previous opponents in Premier League 2.

Albion’s first three matches in the competition were open games that ended 2-4, 3-2 and 4-0. But Nottingham Forest came to Lancing with a more defensive approach and it took a brave headed goal from Mark O’Mahony in the 70th minute to earn a 1-0 win.

“Fair play to Forest,” Ruth said. “They worked extremely hard, covered the ground well and covered the spaces that we normally like to go and exploit.

By Paul Hazlewood
Shannon Ruth's team have won their last four games in all competitions.

“It really demanded patience from us. We had 63 percent of the ball possession, and a lot of final-third entries, but they managed to frustrate us a little bit.

“For the back line, the two number sixes and for Killian Cahill in goal, your concentration is being tested. You have the ball for a good period of time, but one error can hurt you. The lads back there did well not to give them any opportunities. 

“And it was always going to be one sequence, one good bit of play that we were going to have to put together to open up an opportunity to score. I was really pleased with the goal, Mark is in a good bit of form, but our patience was tested tonight.” 

By Paul Hazlewood
Imari Samuels looks to get past a Forest player.

Luca Barrington created the goal with a cross from the right, but had begun the game on the opposite flank as well as creating chances from set plays. 

“He has the quality to unlock a door for you,” Ruth added. “When a game is tight, you need players like Luca to be the difference. And his delivery can certainly be that.” 

Barrington had switched wings after an injury had cut short a promising display from former Bohemians midfielder Jamie Mullins, who fitted seamlessly into the right wing berth that was previously the domain of Cam Peupion before the Australian went out on loan to Cheltenham Town. 

“Jamie is an intelligent boy who takes up some wonderful positions and he is also versatile,” Ruth said. “At Everton he played in the number ten role, tonight out wide. A boy with a clever football brain. He has a shoulder injury from a heavy fall and is a bit sore.”