There was one word that summed up Youth Team Manager Stewart Clitheroe’s mood on Monday night despite defeat to Clitheroe in the FA Youth Cup Second Round – “Proud”.
“I thought the lads did themselves credit on Monday night coming up against a full time academy like Chesterfield” Stewart said. “They worked so hard for 90 minutes and never gave up even when they were behind and they all deserve a lot of credit.”
What his side achieved from this competition alone this season is magnificent. They became the first Fylde side to reach the Second Round Proper of any FA Competition, they played through five rounds of this season’s competition scoring 17 goals in the process whilst keeping together a core squad of 15 players that played in every round.
Stewart had nothing but praise for his side after Monday’s defeat adding: “You always want the lads to give a good account of themselves and they have. They couldn’t have gone any further and give us, as a management team, any more than they have done and to a man they’ve been fantastic throughout.”
Chesterfield’s full time Acadmey came out 4-1 winners on Monday night but that by no means gave a true account of how hard they Fylde squad worked. Stewart put the difference between the two sides down to simply being able to put the ball in the back of the net: “The result went against our lads because Chesterfield were that level above and I think it particularly showed in the finishing.
“I think throughout the game they had four or five chances and scored four, we’ve had three or four decent chances and scored one so, you know, the levels at this stage of the competition means that you’ve got to put the ball in the net, and every credit to them they did.”
Stewart doesn’t think that the Fylde set up is too far away from what Chesterfield and other Football League Academies have already. “You saw at full time when lads fell to the floor knackered they’ve given everything and you can’t ask for any more out of them. I don’t think we’re a million miles away from these full time academies what with the amount of effort and the work rate that they have, you never know, some of these might be being picked up over the next few weeks.”
On that subject this competition has been a fantastic shop window for the lads particularly at this stage of the competition as there were no less than 30 scouts watching the game.
However Stewart reiterated that this season is far from over and finished by saying: “Both the Academy and the Under 18’s have got a lot to play for now for the rest of this season what with only playing six or seven games between us, the Academy still being in the Lancashire Cup, and there’s plenty to play for so the lads have got to carry on until the end of the season and not just think it’s all ended with this cup run as we’ve got cups and league titles to win.”
He would also like to thank all the supporters for turning out to watch his side throughout this cup run and is sure you won’t have been disappointed.
You can watch the full interview with Stewart Clitheroe on the club’s YouTube channel or just click on the link above.