Mark Patterson praises his development team following a fantastic 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the U21 Premier League CupDevelopment Coach Mark Patterson said his young players `did the club proud` on Tuesday evening following a 1-0 victory against Cardiff City.
Gillingham were competing in the second qualifying round of the U21 Premier League Cup and faced a tricky test at the Cardiff City Stadium having defeated Plymouth Argyle 1-0 in the first round at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
However the youngsters put in a terrific display and Aidan Blanchard bagged the crucial goal on 75 minutes when his 20-yard effort flew into the corner to send Gillingham into the next round.
Speaking to the club’s website Mark said: “Overall it was an excellent performance, we knew going to play a good team like Cardiff that there would be a lot of factors in their favour against us.
“We showed honest endeavour, spirit and grit – things that this Football Club bases itself on. We had a game plan which we had worked on for a few days, basically one that involved us trying to frustrate them in the early part of the game because we didn’t want to get drawn into an expansive passing match.
“Technically they were very good and we knew if we tried to play with them or against them openly then they would pick us off.
“We set up a 4-1-4-1 formation which gave us protection but also gave us the opportunity to get wide players forward.
“It was almost a bit of a counter attacking game for us and with a bit more care and attention in certain areas and a better pass choice we may have got in earlier.
“It was a great goal from Aidan – a 20 yard left foot drive that flew into the side of the net and worthy of winning the game.
“It was the most complete performance [of the season] because of what we had to do, and it was a disciplined performance.”
Glenn Morris started in goal and Mark commented on a very strong display from the keeper.
He said: “Glenn Morris made three or four really good saves and we were indebted to him because he kept us in the game in the first half a couple of times.
"He made two cracking saves which were worthy of any level of Football and his attitude from the moment he got on the bus to when we got home was that of a top professional."
Two youth team players, namely Mitchell Dickenson and Ross Ibbertson, featured during the match and Patto was encouraged with their displays.
He added: “Mitchell didn’t look out of place at all, he stopped them from getting clean headers and it was a big learning curve for him.
“He put in a really good performance and looked a very good young centre half.
“Ross Ibbertson did well too when he came on, Harry Stanard and Callum Emptage were on the bench too who are youth team players.
“Ross come on for Dan Bent so we changed our shape and went a bit more adventurous. We started to push them back and create chances, his work rate and energy was what we needed.
“Benty did a great job, but it was the right time to change the game because the opportunity was there and fortunately 10 minutes later we managed to take it."