Swansea City Aston Villa Under-21s Cameron Toshack
25th April 2016
Cameron Toshack expressed his pride at what Swansea City Under-21s achieved in Premier League Division Two this season, despite a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa in the play-offs on Monday night.
Midfielder Rory Hale fired Villa into the lead in the first half before winger Kenji Gorre netted his seventh of the season to level the score three minutes later.
The Midlands side took advantage from the penalty spot to take the lead through Rushian Hepburn-Murphy early in the second half.
And despite the Swans' best attacking efforts, which included a Daniel James shot that hit the crossbar in the dying seconds, the home side could not find a way back into the game.
"It was always going to be disappointing to lose at this stage of the season," said Toshack. "But overall the players have done extremely well this campaign.
"It was an end-to-end match with both teams creating chances, but Villa had that little bit extra to get the win.
"It is important that we don't dwell too much on the defeat this evening but rather the positives the season has brought as a whole.
"We have challenged in a league with better teams and players compared to last year and we have been competitive every game.
"Our aim was to finish in the top five, anything else was a bonus. We bettered that to finish third - just three points off winning the title."
The defeat brings an end to a seven-game unbeaten run that earned the development squad a play-off place.
Overall, the Swans took 12 wins during their first season in Category one football with convincing victories over Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham.
And Toshack believes the squad has come a long way since the start of the season and that many of the side's young players could progress to the next level.
"Both myself and Gary (Richards) are incredibly proud of what this team has achieved," he added.
"We have developed as a squad with a number of our youngsters playing up an age level, while some are knocking on the door of the first team this season and many more securing loan moves. Overall it is a very pleasing picture.
"A number can definitely take the step up to be first-team players with the Swans. It is someone else's decision but they have certainly put themselves in the shop window to be considered."
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