The Notts County youth team sealed their second victory in succession on Saturday with a 3-2 win over Grimsby Town.
First half goals from Montel Gibson, Yohan Rutty-Smith and a second of the season from Jack McMillan had the game out of sight by half-time, before second-half resistance from the visitors ensured a tense end to the game for the young Magpies.
Head Of Academy Coaching Mick Halsall told the OS: "It was a good win, our first in the league and nice to get it on the back of last week's win at York in the League Cup.
"I was really pleased with our first half. There are still things to iron out but we deservedly went into half-time 3-0 up. We had to make sure that the players remained focused and went out with the same commitment and endeavour as the first half.”
The visitors' goals in the second half were a cause for concern for Halsall, something he’ll be keen to avoid in future games: “We could have had a couple more goals early in the second half, but we didn't, so it became a matter of seeing the game out.
“For whatever reason, we conceded two goals, which could have been dealt with better and it put us under a little bit of pressure near the end of the game when we should have been comfortable."
Playing his first game of the season, Gibson’s return was a big boost for the team: "It was good to see Montel get his first goal after being injured," said Halsall. "He came in up front to give us a bit more movement, a bit more cut and thrust."
"There were so many pleasing aspects, particularly in the first half. The second half was a learning curve for the players in how to see out a game when you are 3-0 up. We should try and kill the game off by making it four or five. It's something to work on, there's a lot of positivity and we've got a few weeks now before we play our next game.”
The youth team are now without a game until their trip to Hartlepool on Saturday, September 19th, but that doesn’t mean the whole squad will be rested since a number of players will take part in the Final Third Development League alongside a number of Ricardo Moniz’s fringe players.
"We've got quite a few players involved tomorrow and we'll go over the little pointers that need improving with the rest of the players. We'll try and tie down individual and collective feedback with video analysis; that will be in place so that they are ready to go for the next game away at Hartlepool, which will be difficult but we have two weeks to prepare.”
We’ll have highlights from Saturday’s game at Eagle Valley soon on Magpie PlayerHD.
Grimsby Town again visit Arnold Town tomorrow as the first opponents for the reserves, kicking off at 2pm. With prices for future games to be confirmed, entry for the game will be free for supporters.
. We’ll be covering the game tomorrow live on our social media channels and we’ll have highlights and post-match reaction on Magpie PlayerHD.hereThe fixtures for the reserve side are available