Showing Steel

ARGYLE's youth side will now face Sheffield United in the semi-final of the Dale Farm Milk Junior Vase after losing their final group stage game to Brentford...

...but coach Phil Stokes refused to be down-hearted about the youngsters' performance. 

Hopes of a second consecutive Milk Cup semi-final were dashed by their first defeat in the competition at Parker Avenue, Portrush, against the young Bees. Brentford, boosted by their imports from Spanish giants Barcelona, proved too strong for the Under-15s Argyle outfit -  despite the Greens leading 1-0 at the interval, Brentford ran out 3-1 winners. 

Argyle have avoided drawing Brentford in the semi-finals of the Dale Farm Milk Cup Vase competition and will now meet the Blades on Thursday. Argyle will take on the Steel City side at Roe Mill, Limavady with a 12 noon kick-off while Brentford, who beat Argyle 24 hours earlier, take on Donegal SL.  

However, Stoke, Argyle's Youth Development Phase Lead Coach, was keen to look at the positives from the tournament so far, in which his side have already beaten Donegal and Santa Marta de Liray.

"I don't think we are disappointed," said Stokes. "I think we've certainly played well throughout the three games and for me it was moments of lapse of concentration in a six or seven minute spell. 

"Apart from that the lads have acquitted themselves well and done themselves full credit and they've certainly showed what they are capable of. It was a change in momentum that we couldn't really deal with today against a very strong Brentford side who caused us a lot of problems in the second half, but I have to say that I've got to give full credit to the boys this week. This is three games in which they could not have worked any harder.

"It's now a case of planning for the next game and wanting to go and win that one. We will prepare in the same way as if we had got the win today. Yes, the lads will be a little bit disappointed and this will show a test of character as to what they have got to come back from the situation.

"This is a learning curve for them as it is a different environment to Academy football and our typical Sunday games programme, where it is all about development, as it is also about learning to win in this competition.

"We had a very good game plan today that worked well for almost 40 minutes but then a little bit of fatigue kicked in and that is why we lacked a bit of concentration and things started to go against us, but overall we could not have asked anymore of them."