'Grimsby Town Reserve team takes kids out of comfort zone', says Adam Smith
GRIMSBY Town's youngsters stepped "out of their comfort zone" on Tuesday night – and they will be all the stronger for it.
That's the view of Adam Smith after watching a youthful Mariners Reserve side take on Gateshead's second-string.
The Youth team boss teamed up with Town goalkeeping coach Steve Croudson to manage the return to Reserve action.
Other than five first-teamers – Greg Fleming, Simon Ford, Ian Miller, Andi Thanoj and Louie Soares – the 16-man squad was packed with second-year Youth team players.
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And despite the 1-0 defeat at Gateshead, Smith believes his young guns will benefit from the return of the Reserves after a year's absence.
He said: "We went up there with a young squad with a lot of second-years involved, which is a great for their progression.
"And we had a sprinkling of senior pros in key areas.
"It was the first time for every single one of those Youth boys that they have ever played in the Reserves – it was a very big occasion for them.
"It was at Gateshead's first-team stadium as well, so it was a big night for them and can only help the transition into hopefully becoming professional footballers.
"Second-year YTs can often get quite comfortable and the games at that level can be a bit of a canter for them against younger lads.
"The Reserves takes them out of their comfort zone and puts them in against senior and more experienced players."
Smith admitted that the hosts had the better of the Mariners' opening Central League fixture of the season before they grabbed victory with a late goal.
He added: "We didn't particularly get to grips with the first-half and had a challenge after 30 minutes when Simon Ford and Jack Griffin clashed heads and had to come off to have stitches.
"Jack was able to continue but Fordy, unfortunately had to come off, and within a couple of minutes Andi Thanoj had to come off with a kick on the ankle.
"That really disrupted our plans – we were already a young side and full of youth on the bench. But it provided opportunities for some of the lads to get on quickly .
"In the second-half we started to play much better, we had a little more composed possession in the early stages and for all of Gateshead's attractive football they didn't cause us too many problems.
"They got their goal which was probably deserved and we couldn't really argue with the outcome.
"But all the youngsters' attitudes were excellent, they all worked very hard and put a shift in.
"We would just like to see a little more quality in possession and a bit more composure as we move into the next Reserve game."