Noah Dougherty
Monday 25 November 2019

Forest Green Rovers Academy manager Hannah Dingley says that their 2-1 loss to Cheltenham Town was a learning curve for the U18s side.

Rovers created opportunities throughout, taking the lead through Luke Hallett’s penalty, but came away in defeat following a second half Robins header and unfortunate tap in.

“It’s disappointing not to come away with anything from it. Just because I think we actually played really well. In some spells there was some excellent football,” said Dingley.

“We have got to be better in those two boxes. We had enough chances to win the game comfortably.

“I don’t think Louie [Owens] actually had to make a save and we’ve come away losing the game 2-1. It’s crazy, but it’s a learning curve for the boys.”

Having beaten Dulwich Hamlet 9-1 in the FA Youth Cup a few days before, Dingley feels that the team sheet changes and lack of games may have affected performance.

“Ultimately it’s disappointing but you’ve got to sometimes look a little bit further than the result,” she added.

“Our job as an Academy is to develop players for the first team and there were some stand out performances today that will, if the boys keep learning, put them in good stead to progress and hopefully have careers in the game.

“I suppose, as well, we have got players playing who maybe haven’t had as many minutes. We’ve had a lot of games called off recently and obviously cup games, so you lose match sharpness.

“Sometimes they lose a bit of sharpness, maybe a little bit of confidence and try a little too hard because they haven’t been playing as much.

“But they’re good players and they have been working hard. Those things will come.”

FGR U18s face Swindon Town on Tuesday, with more changes expected to help continue development of the squad for first team football.

“Because we have so many players there is going to be some rotation around in the squad. It is another opportunity for the boys to go out and play to learn and develop,” said Dingley.

“Winning games is good, and it makes you feel a lot better and it makes the camp a bit happier.

“But ultimately, we have to stick to what our role and target is as an academy. Which is to get players that are capable of stepping into Mark Cooper’s first team squad.”

Next up: Swindon Town, Tuesday, November 26 at 1pm, Stanley Park