*BS*The Dover Athletic Academy side were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night by Millwall, in a tie played at The New Den. Academy manager Mike Sandmann offers his report and views below.*BF*
*IS*Our Dover Athletic Academy side competed extremely well throughout the game creating many chances but the professional League One team progressed into the Second Round of the FA Youth Cup.
The first half was an extremely even affair with Dover creating the best chance of the game, with Brandon De Grout going through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, narrowly missing the target. Dover created another half chance with some good play for Connor Wilkins to strike missing the target. Dover continued to press high up the pitch forcing mistakes from the Millwall defenders.The rest of the half saw both teams cancel each other out with some good defending.
The second half Millwall stepped up showing their pace and power which you would expect from a professional club creating chances but Dover GK Tom Roberts cancelling them out. Millwall had a good 20 minute spell in which Dover found it difficult to get out and create anything from themselves. The two Millwall full backs playing extremely high making the Dover wide players constantly defend.
Millwall finally took the lead from a corner which the Academy will be disappointed with after a free header made it 1-0. With 10 minutes to go they made it 2-0 with some good play down the left hand side.
The Academy continued to try and get themselves back in the game with some good play. Tom Carlton going through to be denied by the England u17 Gk for Millwall. They continued to work hard and made a very difficult evening for Millwall at the Den.
Despite the result the Academy will be extremely proud of themselves and their performance and didn’t look outclassed by Millwall.
Academy Manager Mike Sandmann said: “The players should be proud of their performance tonight we created a good chance early on and who knows what could have happened if we took advantage of that. It’s great exposure for the players to play in front of a good crowd at the den and attracting other professional clubs to come and watch them.
“We asked them to compete and play with confidence and freedom and I think we did that tonight especially In the first half. The second half I thought Millwall showed their superior pace and power and their sharpness caused us a lot of problems. It’s disappointing to concede from a set piece but that’s how it goes. After the disappointment of the result I think we will reflect on a great achievement to reach the first round. It shows how far we have come as a group and i really think we gave Millwall a tough night at times making them work for their win.
The players now know the standard and will take a lot away from the game in terms of their development. The whole FA Cup experience has been great for the lads and have been given the exposure they deserve. We have a great set of lads that are desperate to improve and develop in their footballing journeys.
I would like to thank Millwall for their hospitality and wish them all the best for their future matches in this competition.*IF*