Chesterfield lead youth development phase coach Darren Molloy says that it is important to look at the bigger picture following the Under 16s’ defeat to Derby County in the final of the J & S Trophies Floodlit Cup at the Proact Stadium last night.
A goal in either half from Jaden Charles and Archie Brown was enough for the Rams to claim the silverware, but there is still a lot for Molloy and his side to be positive about.
Speaking to iFollow, Molloy said: “Obviously it was disappointing for everybody. The players are devastated after getting a chance to play on the pitch after working so hard to get to the final.
“They were the better team overall, so credit to Derby. Ultimately, we had a couple of chances and did not take them.
“We had a foothold in the game and were building a bit of momentum (at the start of the second half) and they go and score a cracking strike and it takes the wind out of your sails.”
The young Spireites were not at their best in the first half, creating a limited number of opportunities before falling behind just before the break. However, Molloy believes the way they responded in the second half was positive.
“We kept going and we performed better in the second half than we did in the first. The first half was below what we would expect and hope to see from the boys.
“They showed a reaction in the second half and were probably just starting to build a bit of momentum when the sucker punch arrived.”
Despite the defeat, Molloy feels that it is important for his players to look to progressing further through the academy, with the ultimate goal of reaching the first team.
He said: “They are great lads and they work hard every time we train. There is a reason why they have got to the final and why eight of them have got scholarships.
“That is the bigger picture for them, getting that scholarship and progressing. It was a bonus game. It is the first time we have ever been in the Floodlit Cup.
“They have done incredibly well to top the group and make the final.”
The Spireites will now turn their attention back to the final few weeks of their league campaign before going away and ensuring they come back ready for pre-season.
“They have got four or five weeks to keep ticking over and hopefully push on. They will get action plans to go away with in May.
“They will come back in pre-season ready to go with the youth team. The 14s, 15s and the rest of the academy continue to go. We have got tournaments and games so we just keep going.”
A number of other academy players were sat in the stands at the Proact Stadium last night, taking in the game. Molloy hopes that this could motivate some of the younger players to reach their full potential and also potentially attract new players to the club.
He said: “The idea of getting the whole academy down is nice as you have got the togetherness and the feel of a family club.
“Hopefully they have enjoyed it. It is just a shame they do not have a trophy to show for it.
“Things like this are attracting people to the club. They see that we are moving in the right direction and everybody is working hard to try and keep pushing it forward.”
Molloy feels that the academy has improved significantly in the last couple of years, which is good news for the future of the football club.
“The academy is going from strength to strength," he added. "The players are getting a number of opportunities to get better and create great memories and experiences.”