On paper, a 5-1 win against Colchester United for the Royals’ Under-23s looks like a comprehensive way to keep up a perfect record in their Premier League Cup group. But on the night in Woking, it needed cool heads to react the right way after conceding the game’s first goal.
The Royals have a positive history in the competition – winners of the inaugural tournament in 2014 and finalists in 2017 – and boss Scott Marshall was pleased how his side kept doing the right things despite going a goal down. Jack Nolan equalised, before Adam Liddle and Josh Barrett each grabbed a brace after the break.
“They had a few young ones playing and we got a bit of a fright when they went a goal up, but we stayed calm enough and kept doing the right things,” Marshall said.
“Eventually in the second half we created some really good opportunities and capitalised on them.
“There are challenges all the time in football, and this group have certainly built up a bit of a bond in terms of how to deal with setbacks.
“In fairness to the lads, they stay calm when things are tough and they don’t lose focus. They’ve been doing that every day in training and that stands them in good stead for games – they know how to deal with these things.
“It’s all part of the learning curve – you come up against difficulties all the time, and it’s about how you respond. They certainly reacted the right way on Friday night.”
Our Under-23s are in action again on Tuesday evening – they travel to Wilks Park to meet Flackwell Heath in the Quarter-Final of the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Cup.