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Reaction to Saturday's EFL Youth Alliance Merit Division

6 March 2023

Northampton Town Under 18s coach Shane Goddard praised his side after their 2-1 win away to Bristol Rovers in the EFL Youth Alliance Merit League Two on Saturday.

Leo Jenkins and Neo Dobson scored the young Cobblers’ goals as they made it two wins from two at the start of the second stage of the season.

“We had to show different sides to ourselves throughout the game,” Goddard said.

“Bristol Rovers were on top for spells, particularly the first 20 minutes when we didn’t really get a hold of the game.

“We finished the first half stronger and started to find some patterns.

“We were the better team for the first 25 minutes of the second half and we probably should have added another goal in that period.

“They made three changes that really impacted the game and we had to ride that storm to see the game out.

“Credit to the boys because they’re a really competitive group, they have a massive desire to win, and they’ve been finding ways to do that lately.

“Undoubtedly, there are parts of our game where we need to make more clinical decisions and use the ball better, but on the whole it’s a really good away performance and result for the group.”

The youth team make another long journey next week, travelling to Exeter City in their third Merit League fixture.

“The beauty of the Merit League is that we get to play different opposition and face different experiences,” Goddard added.

“The South East and South West leagues merging allows the players to play against different opponents and learn more about themselves and their teammates.

“The boys were up early to travel today, but next week we’re travelling on Friday night and stopping in a hotel so the boys can experience what it’s like in a first team environment.”

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