Northampton Town Under 18s coach Shane Goddard praised the mentality of his side after their 1-1 draw at home to Sutton United in the EFL Youth Alliance League South East on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Marcus Bald earned a point for the young Cobblers with a number of important saves late on, after the visitors had cancelled-out Charlie Carroll’s opening goal.
“It was a game of two halves, and we were really good in the first half,” Goddard said.
“We made good decisions on the ball and switched play really well, without creating as many chances as we needed to.
“Even so, we went in at half-time with a thoroughly deserved one-nil lead because we were head-and-shoulders the better team.
“We had to show a different side of ourselves in the second half because we spent 40 minutes under the pump after letting in an early goal.
“They’ll probably feel they did enough to win the game, but we showed resilience and robustness to pick up a point.
“It’s a really good experience for the players to go through because they had to stay mentally strong and focussed to fulfil their roles and responsibilities.
“Ultimately, we know we can do more and we could have had more quality in our decision-making and technical actions.
“We made it a scrappy game, they thrived off that and had a bit more quality when it mattered.
“Saying that, there are moments in games when you need players to step up to the plate, and Marcus Bald was phenomenal in the second half.
“He made two or three really good stops and saved a penalty which earned us a point.
“It shows how vital your goalkeeper is when things are going against you, and how important they can be when picking up points throughout the season.
“There are positives to take on the whole because we played a young group against some more experienced, older players who they held own against.
“We’ve just got to make sure that lasts over a 90 minute period.”
The youth team travel to Brentford next week.