AFC Fylde youngsters can feel proud after Chelsea defeat

AFC Fylde youth team boss Conrad Prendergast wants his players to keep their defeat against Chelsea in context.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 8:00 am

The Coasters’ youngsters exited this season’s FA Youth Cup on Good Friday following a 2-0 loss.

Prendergast’s players had got to half-time with the game goalless before efforts from Bryan Fiabema and Ben Elliott ended their journey at the fourth round stage.

Speaking afterwards, Prendergast said of his players: “They are flat.

AFC Fylde youth team boss Conrad Prendergast Picture: AFC Fylde

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“We tried to speak to the lads and put it in perspective who they have played against.

“That team could potentially go on and win the competition like they have done on several occasions in the last eight or nine years.

“It summarises the lads’ desire to win, how much they want to achieve and how much they want to progress in their careers, to go in the changing room after playing Chelsea, losing 2-0 and be quite inconsolable really.

“They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t have that desire and didn’t want to win as much as they do.

“I think they will reflect on it, look back and be happy and proud.”

Prendergast’s youngsters had frustrated their hosts for the opening 45 minutes at Kingsmeadow.

Keeper Aaron Lancaster made several important stops, only for Fiabema to open the scoring early in the second half.

Elliott then secured Chelsea’s win, though Fylde’s squad could hold their heads high.

“First and foremost, it’s disappointing we’re out of the competition,” Prendergast said.

“Something we’re tried to instil in that team, in every game we’ve played, is belief; believe you can win, have the confidence within yourselves that you can get a result.

“It was the same today, even though we’re up against a Chelsea team and the majority of their squad are playing England Under-18s, Under-19s – and some of those players will be playing in the Premier League in a couple of years, but we still set out trying to find a way to win.

“We gave a really good account of ourselves. To go in 0-0 at half-time was part of our plan to stay in the game.

“We had to change our way of playing completely, which shows the character and the footballing intelligence of the lads to adapt and do what’s being asked of them, even though it’s different to what we normally work on. If we stay in the game and keep it 0-0, it only takes one goal from us to go and win the game.

“We worked a lot on that low block, giving Chelsea a lot of the ball, and we expected them to have loads of quality, pace and ability on the ball.

“We’ve worked for the last two weeks on all the basics: trying to block shots, head, clear, run as much as we possibly can, be hard to beat, and in that first 45 minutes, I was really proud.

“Overall, massively proud. The club are proud, every one of the players in the changing room should be proud of their achievement.”

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