Duff’s praise for youngsters despite loss
ROBINS manager Michael Duff praised his young guns despite the 1-0 Leasing.com Trophy loss at Exeter.
Nicky Ajose scored the only goal after five minutes as Duff fielded a side with an average age of 21 including three Academy products, two of whom, Archie Brennan, 18, and 17-year-old Tom Chamberlain, made their first-team debuts.
“I thought we were excellent,” said Duff.
“We should have won the game. There was a pivotal moment in the game where we should have had either a penalty or they should have had a red card.
“We should have had one or the other. The keeper has also made an unbelievable save and their lad has backed him up by making an unbelievable block.
“Second half I thought we dominated the game and if we perform like that away from home, more often than not, I’ll take that.
“Chambo (Tom Chamberlain) is apparently 10 days off being the youngest player since the club got into the Football League, he’s only just turned 17.”
The no-penalty no-red card inncident came when Gary Warren challenged George Lloyd and Duff said: “I couldn’t see whether it was in the box.
“Russ (Milton) thought it was in the box and Tim (Bell) the analyst thought it was in the box at half-time.
“I thought it was a stone wall red card. I spoke to the referee’s assessor just now and he agreed with me.
“It is frustrating because they are key decisions in games.
“It’s disappointing for the young lads as they’ve walked off with a defeat.
“If we get the penalty and I’d like to think we’d have scored it because Conor Thomas was on the pitch.
“Then it’s game on and it picks their tails up.
“The only disappointing thing is that we have conceded within four minutes from a set play.
“We have lost 1-0 again to a set play and three goals we’ve conceded in this and the two league games have been dead balls.”
Duff also praised Brennan, goalkeeper Rhys Lovett and young defender Dan Bowry.
“Archie isn’t used to being in that position (right wing-back) but I thought he was excellent, willing to take the ball in tight areas.
“Rhys Lovett hasn’t had a great deal to do and Dan Bowry, another one making his full debut, was excellent and didn’t look out of place at all.
“We brought 17 players down and that’s everyone we have and a youth team player.
“We are down to the bare bones, but there is still enough quality in the team.
“We’ve had four or five what you might call starters, out every game so far this season, but we’ve been competitive in every game.”