Development squad cash in on early advantage.
Kevin Ball was left to reflect on a good night’s work as the under-21s continued their push for a play-off place with a 3-0 win over Spurs.
The development squad had established their considerable advantage by half time thanks to goals from Martin Smith, Mikael Mandron and Charis Mavrias.
In the first five or 10 minutes they had a lot the ball but we created some great chances and could have been 4-0 up
- Kevin Ball
The hosts’ early dominance paid off as they comfortably closed out the contest in the second period at the Stadium of Light.
“I thought it was quite an interesting game, to be honest,” said Ball, who has seen the U21 side lose just one of their last four games.
“In the first five or 10 minutes they had a lot the ball but we created some great chances and could have been 4-0 up.
“We planned to press Spurs, which we did very well and we created chances from that.”
A 1-0 advantage was quickly trebled as Mandron and Mavrias stuck in quick succession just before the break.
But Ball was keen to see the side continue to press and says the win was built on solid foundations at the back.
I told the players to retain the same attitude they showed in the first half, because if they weren’t prepared to do that then Spurs would come back into the game
- Ball's challenge to players
“I said to the players at half time that even though we were winning, we had to make the most of our chances,” he explained.
“As the game goes on you worry that it might come back and bite you on the backside.
“I told the players to retain the same attitude they showed in the first half, because if they weren’t prepared to do that then Spurs would come back into the game.
“They had some good possession in the second half but I thought we worked their keeper a lot more than they worked ours.
“We kept our shape very well; the back five were outstanding and very disciplined. I also thought [goalkeeper] Joel Dixon was superb.”