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Smith: "We're Always Striving to get Better"

5 November 2014

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After seeing his youth team progress to the second round of the FA Youth Cup at the expense of Stocksbridge Park Steels, coach Mark Smith spoke to Spireites Player.

Goals from Lawrence Maguire, Mason Coy and Bard Holmes put the youth team 3-0 up at the break before Jake Beesley rounded off the scoring with a late fourth in the eventual 4-1 win.

Speaking after the tie at the floodlit Proact Stadium, Smith said he was especially pleased with the first half performance.

He said: "The main objective was to get through the tie, 3-0 up at half time I thought we did okay. We're always striving to get better but I thought we were well on top then.

"Second half I thought we went off it, which caused a few problems at times but I thought generally we were comfortable."

Throughout the contest high balls into the box caused anxiety in the Steels defence, and Smith was pleased to have taken advantage of this weakness.

He said: "We scored from two set plays, which is always nice. The delivery was good and the movement was good, I thought every time the ball went into the box there was something in the offing.

"Sometimes we didn't quite take it and didn't gamble enough in areas where we could get second balls, but generally I thought in the first half that we were really confident. 

"We try and play with a high tempo, we try and play in your face and we try and play the long stuff and I thought they couldn't cope with it."

The match was as much about the team's ability to perform in a big match situation as the result, and Smith was pleased with his players' response.

The coach said: "I thought a few of us were a bit tentative in the first 20 minutes, but after that they drove on and they warmed to it.

"Sometimes the passing was a bit sloppy- maybe they're used to playing on bumpy pitches and when you play on a bowling green like this it's a different kind of pressure.

"I've been in matches before where people have been taken away by the occasion, put in rash challenges and misplaced clearances, and generally you'll go on and lose those games, but today they did well."

Next up the youth team travel north to Hartlepool United and Smith believes his side will be able to get back to form in the bread and butter of league football.

He said: "They'll take confidence form it and take it into the league game- that's what we're looking for. It will be a different challenge up there at Hartlepool.

"They're on the journey to being pros so they've got to handle it. They're under the floodlights one minute and on a park pitch on Saturday, so they've just got to get on with it. We've got a good group of kids and they do that."

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