Byron Anthony hails U18s’ energy and desire in Ipswich draw
Byron Anthony was thrilled by the energy and desire demonstrated by Swansea City Under-18s in their creditable 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town.
With a side featuring four under-16s and five first-year scholars, the young Swans left St George’s Park with a hard-earned point against the FA Youth Cup semi-finalists.
Heading into the Professional Development League contest off the back of consecutive defeats, Anthony’s side produced a solid performance in their final away game of the season.
The visitors pressed their opponents high up the field, while looking threatening on the front foot and down the wings.
Despite falling behind on the hour mark, they responded brilliantly and continued to plug away in search of an equaliser.
And it arrived in the 90th minute thanks to Joel Cotterill’s last-gasp penalty.
Anthony was pleased by the character his players demonstrated, and praised their ability to produce the goods at such an elite venue.
“I was looking for a reaction and the players showed that,” the under-18s coach said.
“It was quite an interesting battle really. We worked on a way to press Ipswich and it worked quite well.
“We exploited them in wide areas and did quite well on the front foot, which was really pleasing.
“The energy and desire to get in their faces higher up the pitch was clear, and the players stuck to the game plan.
"There were bodies on the line and players blocking shots; they did everything we asked of them.
“After they scored, we probably had our best passage of football.
“There were some neat and tidy passes that led to opportunities, but we were just lacking in the final third. But we kept going and got our rewards.
“It was a great experience for them to be playing at St George’s Park – the home of English football.
“That is what it’s like to perform at the elite level, and the players took it in their stride.
“They more than embraced it and played with smiles on their faces.”