Stevenage's Under-18s built on a recent 1-1 draw against Cambridge with a thumping 5-1 win over Gillingham on Saturday in the Youth Alliance.
Despite going a goal down in Kent, Boro bounced back in style with Luke Slater hitting a hat-trick and both Liam Brady and Mickey Cregan also getting on the scoresheet. You can watch the Stevenage goals below.
Talking to us through the game, Academy Manager Robbie O’Keefe said, “We went 1-0 down after quarter of an hour, totally against the run of play . We got it back to 1-1 through Luke Slater and then 10 minutes into the second half Gillingham had a man sent off. We’ve seen recently that going down to 10 men can work the other way, but we really made the extra man pay in the attacking third. We broke really quickly, we played forward really quickly and we won 5-1. Luke Slater got a hat-trick, Liam Brady got one and Mickey Cregan got one.
The game was also noticeable for the return of a number of scholars from injury with Charley O'Keefe, Zak Guerfi, Dave Etheridge, Andronicos Georgiou and Macsen Fraser all playing.
Robbie continued, “Last week was the first week this season we’ve got through a week with no injuries during training or a game. And that’ll be because we’ve tailored individual training sessions to suit the needs of the players. We’ve got to strike the need between developing the team and getting good results on the pitch or developing the individuals so they get professional contracts. Every one of them has a different physiological state and needs to be treated individually.
“I felt like as a department we’d managed the players really well during the week and it paid off on the Saturday. It’s the first time this season we’d gone into a game with all our scholars available, bar long-term absentee Ryan Schmid. To go away to Gillingham and win 5-1 is a really good result. Any win at Youth Alliance level is good as it’s a tough league. It’s a very tight league as well. We feel like we’ve got our youngsters in the right place at the moment, we’re developing them in the right way and we’ve got that balance between them wanting to win but developing at the same time, and getting them ready for first team football.”
Goal of the Month Nominations
In addition to the above, two Stevenage youngsters have been nominated in the LFE's Goal of the Month Competition for August. Ben Wilmot and Claudio Ofosu have been put forward for their goals against Peterborough and Barnet respectively.
Watch their goals below and then visit this page to vote for either Boro youngster. Voting will remain open until noon on 6 October so vote for your favourite goal via our online poll or tweet @LFEonline using either #LFEGOALB (Ben Wilmot goal) or #LFEGOALC (Claudio Ofosu goal).