JERSEY Under 18s’ heavy home defeat at the hands of Northern Ireland U18s can only be viewed as a ‘great lesson’, according to head coach Dan Seviour.
It was the first time in recent memory that the Caesareans have fielded an entire squad of under 18s for this fixture, which serves as a curtain raiser for tonight’s Lynne Nicholson Trophy.
The visitors brought with them a stout reputation and one that Jersey soon became familiar with, after a comprehensive 5-0 defeat.
Seviour said: ‘First and foremost, I said to the lads that they should be proud of the performance that they put on there.
‘If we’re honest with ourselves, we can be disappointed in some of the goals conceded as they’ve changed the momentum of the game.
‘The opportunities that these games offer are huge.
‘The lads got to test themselves against a great side and the chance to face opposition like Northern Ireland don’t come around often.
‘We started really brightly, but got a little panicky after conceding the first and credit to them [Northern Ireland] because they took full advantage.
‘But, for us, there isn’t a negative there, it’s a learning experience.
‘I’m certain every one of the lads will go away from this game, improve and right the wrongs.’
For a handful of Seviour’s team, that opportunity comes tonight.
Jersey U21s will face the same Northern Ireland side, hungry for revenge and to regain the Lynne Nicholson trophy, which they lost last year following a win in the warm-up contest.
U21s head coach James Scott said: ‘The U21 age group is always a tricky one for selection.
‘There are many of our players who are away at university, thus unavailable for selection.
‘What that does allow is a great opportunity for a number of the U18 players to step up to the next level.
‘This fixture gives us a perfect chance to look at our players ahead of the Muratti in April, which is what everyone has their sights set on.
‘Many of the squad tonight will be involved, with some to come back from the mainland, so I’m sure every one of them will be keen to make an impression for selection.
‘I watched the U18s game on Monday and thought they competed and contested all around with Northern Ireland.
‘They just had that quality in all areas of the pitch and that told after 90 minutes.
‘We know they are a great outfit and very clinical with their chances, but we have learnt from a few aspects of that game and will implement some changes with an aim to reverse the form.’
The U18 game began at a breathless tempo, with both sides keen to impose their will.
Sammy Henia-Kamau had a penalty shout waved away after just 60 seconds, before the visitors then hit the upright.
It took 30 minutes for Northern Ireland to really show their class.
A crossfield pass from defence stuck to Corey Smith’s boot like glue, before he slalomed through Jersey, with the ball eventually falling to Sean Brown to bundle home.
Michael Morgan was afforded an early night by the visitors, to rest up for tonight’s contest, but while he was on the pitch he was outstanding.
It was Morgan who grabbed the second with a composed finish, leaving Jacob Videgrain helpless.
Jersey at 2-0 down came out fighting in the second half, in a composed opening spell that emulated the beginning of the match.
However, Brown was clearly not intent on giving the hosts a sniff and buried a 25 yard free-kick into the corner off the underside of the bar, for his brace.
The boys in dark green would add two more before the end of 90 minutes through Charlie Chapman and substitute Luca Doherty, the latter taking his in trademark ruthless fashion.
The Lynne Nicholson Trophy begins at 7pm tonight at Springfield Stadium.
Jersey U18s: Jacob Videgrain, Damon Huckerby, Fergus Boyle, Joel McKinlay (Callum Esnouf 62), Charlie Brennan, Taylor-Jack Woodley (Harry McManus 86), Harry Scott, Leandro Vieira (Ben Shirley 86), Sammy Henia-Kamau (Conor O’Keeffe 79), Seaney McColgan-Byrne (Barry Beatson 67), Miguel Carvalho(c) (Cristiano Ascencao 72). Unused Pierce Roche.
Jersey U21 to face Northern Ireland U18 tonight: Pierce Roche, Jacob Videgrain, Sammy Sutcliffe (c), JJ Lloyd, Daniel Burton, Jack Lumsden, Patrick O’Toole, Luke Coutanche, Miguel Carvalho, Sammy Henia-Kamau, Darryl Mvalo, Harry Scott, Leandro Viera, Seaney McColgan, Fergus Boyle, Barry Beatson.