Academy Round-Up With Jason Brindley

This weekend just gone saw all of our TNS Academy age groups in action. On Friday evening our first team played Bangor City at Park Hall Stadium; following Academy training, lots of our youngsters stayed to support our first team afterwards which was really good.

We like that link between our first team and our Academy. It’s good that players like Adrien Cieslewicz and Steven Saunders coach with our Academy and that there is a real connection between the two and the youngsters.

We want our Academy players to idolise and learn off the players they support. It is also really good for our first team players to pass on their knowledge too.

Connah’s Quay action

On Saturday morning we both travelled to and hosted Connah’s Quay with our Foundation Phase age groups. Games against The Nomads are always evenly contested and this weekend was no different. They always prove stern opposition in most age groups and we enjoy the fixtures against them.

On Saturday evening our U-13s faced Stoke DC at Park Hall Stadium (Lead photograph). The U-13s coach Danny is new to the group but has started applying his ideas and the players have responded well. This is a large group but contains some outstanding young footballers.

The game started off as a nervy contest with both teams making a couple of errors but TNS grew as the game went on and scored some really well-worked goals.

Rui on the pitch against The Nomads

On Sunday morning our youngest age groups travelled to face Newtown at Latham Park. It was an early start with a 9.00 a.m. kick-off. Our U-7s played two mini 4v4 games without keepers. It is a format that I really enjoy. It gives players lots of opportunities to get on the ball and statistics show how many more touches, passes and one-on-ones you get to experience.

The players don’t always see it like that though and I know a couple of them want to ‘shoot into the big goal’, so we like to mix it up for them from time to time. I was fortunate to take the U-7s myself, following the leading of two of their sessions last week and saw lots of the things we have been working on come out. They have come on no end since the beginning of the season, which is great to see.

Our U-8s and U-9s were also in good form and they all had a very good morning in Newtown.

The U-7s, U-8s and U-9s at Latham park, Newtown

Back to Park Hall Stadium, our U-12s/U-14s/U-16s were in FAW Academy Cup action against Cefn Druids and Airbus. Our U-12s started proceedings and put in a fine display against our near-neighbours,  Druids. This group contain some excellent players, although they can be either hot or cold at times. They were definitely the former though on this occasion and they scored some excellent goals.

Next up, our U-14s faced Airbus for the second time in a week, looking to record a second result against the young Wingmakers. They encountered a very resolute Airbus, defensively solid and hard to break down.

Matters were made even more difficult as they went down to 10 men through an injury. However TNS found the gaps and scored a couple of good goals to leave us in a good position in the Super6 league with 4 games remaining.

Our U-16s followed, having had last week’s match fall foul to the weather. They haven’t had as many games recently, so minutes were definitely needed.

They started a little off the boil but very soon found their feet and were in excellent form for the majority of the first half. Ball movement was good and players showed positive understanding of last week’s training topic, with numerous counter attacks from wide areas.

The U-16s against Airbus in wintry conditions

Our U-15s finished the day with a home fixture against Chester FC. Despite the woes of their first team, Chester are a good outfit and give us good contests at the majority of age groups.

We proved too strong on this occasion though and scored some excellent goals through set-pieces. There is a great togetherness about our U-15s, coach Rob has done a really good job installing that within the group.

Next weekend we look forward to supporting our first team against Dumbarton, in the Irn-Bru Cup, while our U-14s and U-16s travel to Cardiff for the FAW National Futsal Finals.

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