Cheltenham Town: Russell Milton's youth column
THE season got off to the best possible start last weekend with a comfortable 3-0 win over Torquay United at Plainmoor.
Two strikes from midfield goal machine Harry Williams and one from winger Jamal Lawrence were just rewards for a commanding all-round display.
That is 11 goals in nine games for Harry (pictured), who has performed outstandingly well in the opening weeks since coming back from the close-season break. He has been playing in a more advanced midfield role this season just off Bobbie Dale, showing intelligence, strength and skill.
The first goal came from a penalty, which Harry won himself, the second a header from a corner and Jamal's was from a rebound off a Williams shot.
Traditional Shave, Facial Treatment, Whisky and a Shoe Shine -...View details
Gents, enjoy a traditional shave, facial treatment, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £31
Terms: Early and later appointments available upon request.
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Our dominance showed in the fact that keeper Harvey Rivers didn't have a shot to save.
The pleasing thing was the fact we didn't let up and dominated the ball, but disappointingly we didn't create more outright opportunities than we managed to.
Still, I have to be pleased with both performance and result.
Today we play Newport County at home (11am).
They are new to the system having been promoted from the Conference last season so are a bit of an unknown quantity but one we will not take lightly.
Still with matters on the pitch, the reserve game on Tuesday against Torquay gave some of the boys much-needed experience.
I thought Harvey looked very assured in goal and was beaten by three quality strikes that you'd do well to see in one season, let alone one game.
His game looked very controlled, his distribution was accurate and his handling when called upon was also tidy.
Bobbie played the central role up front and did very well, holding the ball and bringing players into the game to good effect.
Unfortunately for him a couple of chances came and went which would have capped a fine display.
Harry Williams got 25 minutes, replacing namesake Ed, and did what he has been doing all pre season and scored – he also had one disallowed for offside.
It was a good workout for the lads and all in all it was quite a youthful-looking side with Joe Hanks and Ed involved along with Ryan Innis, the loanee from Crystal Palace.
This season we will look to organise more reserve and development games in midweek to allow the lads extra minutes to increase game time and experience.
Off the field, director Paul Godfrey, my academy colleague Antoine Thompson and myself went to an Elite Player Performance Plan audit meeting at Leicester City on Wednesday to see a couple of presentations, one from the auditors and one from Greg Rioch of Coventry City who themselves went through the process last season.
We are due to be assessed in November and are progressing well towards this day with help from a lot of people in the club from John Murphy, Tim Kent and Paul at board level to new staff member and former academy player Pete Haynes.
The audit process will be over four days and involve interviews with all members of the academy and the manager and will see them observing us in action on the training field and on match days at all levels from the youth team to Under-nines.
It will be an intense two or three months coming up then, but it's a period that will see us improve as an academy in all areas, without doubt.
Finally, good luck to good mate John Brough and his assistant Mike Jackson as they kick off their season against Bridgwater Town for Bishop's Cleeve today.
We lost 2-0 to Bridgwater in pre-season and they were a very direct side with two quick and strong forwards who will be a threat, I'm sure.