Gills Youth Manager delivers his reaction as his players book a place in round four of the FA Youth Cup.
Ben White said he was proud of his players as Gills booked a place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup following an excellent 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Wednesday evening.
TJ Bramble converted from the penalty spot in the first-half with Emmanuel Fernandez heading home shortly after the break to put White’s men firmly in charge. Blackburn pulled one back just before the hour mark but the visitors showed defensive resilience and mental toughness to see the game out.
Following the match Ben said: “We were made to work for it in the end; I thought up until we scored our second goal on 50 minutes we were by far the better team. That forced their hand a little bit and they had to come out and obviously try and get themselves back in the game, and they did that.
“For the last half an hour it was a proper backs against the wall job and as much as we showed great energy and quality in the first 50 minutes of the game, we then had to show a lot of resilience, discipline and focus to see the game out.
“This is why the FA Youth Cup is such a good competition, not just because of the prestige but what it brings up in terms of emotion – the boys were 2-0 up and were jubilant, they score, and then all of a sudden your emotion goes from jubilance to panic and for a spell of ten minutes we had to weather it, and we just about managed to do that, regained composure and then had a decent spell ourselves.
“Of course in the last 10 minutes they throw the kitchen sink but we dealt with it.”
White said the game plan was based around the analysis conducted in the weeks leading up to the game, and he said his side showed professionalism to ensure they got the job done.
He added: “The game management started in the first minute; we’ve had analysis done on them and we prepared for them. We came here as underdogs, a lot of people might have thought we would come here and set up to frustrate them, but we actually went after them and that’s part of game management too.
“We had to be street wise, cute, and slow things right down which I think is professional at the end of the day, and we got the job done.”
Gills now go into the hat for the fourth round draw, and the boss was asked if he had a preference for who the club draw next.
He said: “No, not really. I think if we are at it we can compete with anybody on our day and the boys have now gone to three away grounds now, performed well and got the right result every time. People are talking about a home draw, I’m not bothered personally, I think it’s great for the boys to go to these different grounds and show everyone what they can do and we’ll continue to enjoy the run and we’ll get who we get and try to get to the fifth round.”
Ben was also asked if it was the proudest moment of his coaching career to date. He responded: “Definitely, this was the biggest game of my coaching career so far and it’s obviously really satisfying to get the victory and I’m proud of the boys. They delivered tonight and we need to take some of what we showed tonight into our league games aswell.”