Bevan Youl
Monday 30 September 2019

After Forest Green Rovers Under 18s’ 2-1 win against Exeter, manager Chris Barker felt it showed “how far the academy have come” in the past few years.

Rovers’ youngsters held their ground against the visitors and a Dan Jones penalty 10 minutes before the final whistle gave them a well-earned three points against a side that would have been a tougher opposition a few years back.

“Three years ago, we were struggling against teams like Exeter, and we are coping with them now,” said Barker.

“It shows how far the academy have come in just over two years. Hopefully we’ll keep building it.”

With the game highly contested between both sides, Barker felt FGR managed the ball well in possession to create more opportunities than Exeter.

“I think in most of the game, I wouldn’t say we dominated, but in possession I thought we kept the ball really well,” Barker explained.

“We created three, four, five more chances than them, and I thought we did ok.

“I’m not sure if it was a penalty or not towards the end. But in possession we were good, and better out of possession as well.

“Overall, I’m happy, and it was a good reaction from the boys when it got back to 1-1 to go and get a winning goal.”

Aware that a 1-0 lead was not yet a guarantee, Barker felt the score line could have been more before the visitors equalised.

“I spoke to the boys at half time and said we were very pleased with them, but I think one or two nil is a very dangerous score line,” he said.

“But overall to beat Exeter, which is a fantastic academy, is a good result and can see the boys progressing on and off the field at the moment.”

The win over Exeter marked two in a row in the league, before the academy face top-of-the-table Portsmouth next.

“Two good wins. I said to the boys yesterday about trying to play Exeter and Portsmouth ‘It’s two good tests coming up’ and they’ve obviously passed the first one.

“It’s going to be a tough week for them now because we haven’t got a game next Saturday and then organise ourselves for Pompey at home in a couple of weeks.”

Next time out: Portsmouth, Saturday, October 12, 11am at The Royal Agricultural University