Byron Anthony proud of ‘disappointed’ U18s
Byron Anthony has revealed his huge sense of pride in Swansea City Under-18s’ performance during their narrow FA Youth Cup defeat by Middlesbrough.
The young Swans bowed out of the competition at the fourth-round stage as Callum Kavanagh’s second-half strike settled the tie at Landore.
It was a bitter blow for Anthony’s side, who had produced an impressive display against their Premier League North opponents.
The hosts entered the contest off the back of four consecutive defeats, while they had conceded 21 goals during that span.
Nevertheless, they asserted themselves on proceedings; enjoying many spells of possession and looking dangerous on the attack.
But the Swans were just unable to find that creative spark in the final third, before a momentary lapse in concentration led to Boro scoring the game’s decisive goal.
Anthony revealed that the players were left devastated after narrowly missing out on a first-ever appearance in the fifth round of the competition.
But he insists that they can be proud of their efforts.
“We’ve got a really disappointed dressing room,” the under-18s coach said.
“I’m really proud of the boys’ performance, their application and attitude towards the game plan, and delivering almost everything.
“We were really confident going into the game.
“As a group, we worked really hard to put some principles in place where we thought we could affect the game – both in and out of possession.
“The main thing was about getting on the ball and being brave, bringing what they had to the game and enjoying playing as underdogs.
“Other than that one lapse in concentration, I think the players executed the game plan really well.
“We just couldn’t quite get over the line in the final third with that element of quality, which is the money shot really.
“We’ve fallen short, but it was a huge learning curve for the players so early in their career.”