Ryan Davies proud of character shown by Swansea City U18s
Head of academy coaching Ryan Davies was proud of the character shown by Swansea City Under-18s as they secured a spot in the Professional Development League Cup quarter-finals.
A dramatic 3-3 draw at Plymouth Argyle ensured the Swans finished top of Group E, after wins over Cardiff City and AFC Bournemouth in their previous fixtures.
The visitors knew they would go through if they avoided defeat, while a win would send the home side into the quarter-finals, and it made for an entertaining contest with so much at stake.
Fin Wilkes opened the scoring by tapping in a rebound for Plymouth inside 20 minutes, before Rohan Davies netted an equaliser from close range moments later.
The Swans were on the front foot from then on as Thomas Woodward sent a stunning header into the back of the net, before bagging his second from the spot in the second period.
The hosts scored two quick-fire goals thanks to Joe Hatch and Freddie Issaka to bring the scoreline level, but the Swans saw out the remainder of the game and made sure there was no repeat of 12 months ago, when defeat to Plymouth had dumped them out of the same competition.
And Ryan Davies believes the upcoming knockout stages - alongside the under-18s’ FA Youth Cup clash against Ipswich Town - will provide new experiences for the young players that will be vital to their development.
"It was a tough game. We went 3-1 up and then conceded two in the closing stages, which we were disappointed with," said Davies.
"The boys showed a lot of character against a relentless Plymouth team who were very aggressive and very direct, which is something they don't come up against often.
"We managed to regain our composure after losing our 3-1 lead so, all in all, it's a good result and it feels like a win as we progress to the next round.
"However, there are a lot of areas where we need to work on and where we could have done much better, but that will be communicated back in training.
"At half-time, we had a 2-1 lead and we told them to manage the game, but we hadn't done that as well as we would have liked.
"We knew Plymouth would go right to the end, as they've been threatening in the final stages of their games, and they've come back from losing positions several times this season.
"But the boys were switched on to any threats, and eventually got that all-important point.
"Now, we go into the knockouts, with the FA Youth Cup also coming up, and these competitions are always a great learning moment, especially in aiding the young players in preparation for senior football."