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Cassell issues Youth Cup rallying call

Jim Cassell 0809

Jim Cassell 0809

City's Under 18 side are still in with a good chance of progressing to the FA Youth Cup final, despite losing last night's semi-final first leg.

That's the upbeat message from the Academy Manager Jim Cassell, who insists that the young Blues can overcome the one-goal advantage that Arsenal will take into the second leg at the Emirates on April 22nd.


City took a deserved lead into the break after Alex Nimely-Tchuimeni had scored in the 41st minute, but the visitors dominated after half time, taking the game 2-1 after Thomas and Sunu had struck in the last 20 minutes.


Jim says, "We would have been happy with 1-1, as we said before the tie. It was always going to go to the second leg, and 2-1 gives them an obvious advantage.


"It was a game of two halves in every sense, we could have been 3-0 up at half-time and they could have had three or four after the break. We'll have a rethink now about how we address the game at the Emirates, but I thought we put in some good performances and on another night it might have been our game.


"Both sides hit the woodwork, and overall it was another good advert for youth football, but sadly this time it was our turn to come out on the wrong end of the score line. The tie is not over, we will pick ourselves up at the Emirates and give it a real go down there.


"We're disappointed but not downhearted, we know there is more in this tie. We have never won a home leg in the semi finals of this competition so let's hope we can do the business away. We won't be daunted, we'll be up for it and if Arsenal think the tie is over, that's fine, but we will be giving it a real go."


Coach Alex Gibson also thinks the youngsters are still in with a real shout of retaining the trophy, and he sees City's participation in the prestigious Dallas Cup early next month as good preparation given the long gap between cup games.


"We need to work on keeping the ball a little better, but we have things we can take from both halves of the game. We'll be working again on Friday after the boys have college on Thursday, we have the Dallas Cup to take part in as well and then we will be preparing for the second leg. There's a tremendous camaraderie and team spirit with these lads and the Dallas trip will help with that and then it will continue up until the second leg."

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