Blackpool's youth-team coach John Murphy delighted to end impressive season on another high

Blackpool’s youth-team coach John Murphy was delighted - and a little relieved - to see his Under-18 side add some silverware to what has been an excellent season.

Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 9:12 am

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Blackpool U18s top Rochdale in cup final to add silverware to memorable campaign

The young Seasiders overcame Rochdale last night in an enthralling Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup final.

The U18s led twice before being pegged back on both occasions, but Tayt Trusty’s penalty proved enough to claim a 3-2 victory at Lancashire FA’s Leyland headquarters.

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Joe Strawn and the excellent Jake Daniels had earlier added their names to the scoresheet.

The night ended with Blackpool’s jubilant players lifting the trophy, a fitting way to end an impressive campaign which saw Murphy’s side reach the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup and finish in third in the league.

“We said before the game we’ve gone quite far in a lot of competitions but not quite got to the final stage,” Murphy said.

“From a sentiment point of view, I told the lads this would probably be the last time they play together, certainly as a group because the second years are done now, more or less.

Under-18s boss John Murphy

“In the first-half I thought we were lucky to go ahead, but we were also lucky to be level at the break.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the worst we’ve played, but it was a disappointing first-half. They were better at everything and I told them at half-time I haven’t got enough fingers to name the aspects of the game where they were better than us.

“They were better at running, they were better at working hard, they were better at passing, there were so many facets of the game where they were better than us.

“We had changed shape due to personnel issues, it wasn’t us trying to be clever. We were actually matched up diamond for diamond but at the end of the day they were better at it than us.

“We changed it for the second-half and unfortunately a couple of the lads had to come off and we put two older lads on and I think that showed in the second-half.

“We went back to our go-to system which is our 4-4-2, the lads know it and they instantly seemed more confident.

“But they also won tackles, they ran more, they competed better, they showed better quality.

“All these systems and whatever, if you don’t do the basics you’re going to struggle and in the first-half we didn’t do the basics.”

As a result, Murphy revealed he gave his players a rare “dressing down” at the interval.

“I don’t give rockets these days, back in the day I used to and shout at people, but we don’t do that anymore,” he said.

“But they got a bit of a dressing down and they responded. We asked a few players to stand up and be counted and they did that.

“From their point of view, they deserved to make it 1-1 at half-time because they were the better side. But based on chances in the second-half, we had a lot more than them but they still got back in it and you’re worrying about it going to penalties.

“We get a great chance when Johnny (Johnston) goes through and he’s fortunate really as he should have scored. He takes it around the keeper but it looks like the ball is going out of play, but then he’s brought down.

“Johnny made a difference when he came on though. That was the Johnny we signed at the start of the season where he was a pest. He came off not even knowing what the score was he’s that tired, he thought we won 3-1.

“In the end, he came on and he’s had a big, big part to play in the win.

“Jack Moore is another one who was only meant to be playing for 20 minutes because he’s been out for two months, but he comes on and you can see the quality.

“He actually comes on out of position but he plays like he’s been playing for 40 years, so those two players made a difference.

“There were a few sacrificial lambs in the first-half where it was a little bit much for them, but it was still a good experience for them.”