U21s make most of Torquay battle
The under-21s fell to a 3-0 loss at Torquay United on Tuesday, though Shaun Cooper felt his young side dealt well with a tough challenge.
The under-21s featured a number of under-18s in their latest friendly, taking on the National League Gulls on their first-team pitch at Plainmoor.
Dean Moxey, Josh Umerah and Olaf Koszela were the scorers for the hosts, all three United goals coming in the 22 minutes after the hour mark.
After the match, manager Cooper fed back to afcb.co.uk, going into detail on how his side dealt with the physical test they were given.
"It was another good learning day for us," he said. "I felt we lacked quality in possession at times, especially further up the pitch and that meant we were exposed to a lot of scenarios defensively.
"The pleasing thing for me was how we dealt with the aerial threat and the direct play at times.
"Our two centre-halves were outstanding in that respect, to do that as well as they did after having a relative struggle against Maidenhead in the game before was really good. We had a real onslaught of corners into our box in the first half and I thought that those two along with their team-mates dealt with that really well.
"There were some real positives from a defensive perspective, even though we conceded three goals."
With the under-21s featuring younger players and taking in a succession of friendlies against men's teams in the National League, Cooper says his players need to quickly embrace the challenges placed in front of them.
"We've got a lot of under-18s making the step up to the higher level of football. As things are at the moment they're actually going straight from under-18s to men's football," he said.
"They're almost having a month on loan in the National League, which is fantastic for them. There's so much value in playing these teams and getting our players exposed to what it is they'll be facing in their entry levels in the game.
"It's a great gauge to see where each individual is at in terms of where they want to be in the end.
"With that in mind there were lots of things to take from the game and we spoke afterwards in the dressing room. We were all open, the players and myself, about where we need to go as individuals.
"The lads have got to get used to it, tough games one after the other, and it's fantastic for their development.
"Now I'm really looking forward to getting back on the training pitch and seeing what the Aldershot game throws at us on Saturday."
Image courtesy of Torquay United Football Club.