Youngsters shine in FA Cup win for Arlesey Town after improved second-half
- Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY
Some honest truths were needed at half-time before Arlesey Town eased into the next round of the FA Cup.
The 4-3 win was easier than the score suggested, Thetford's final goal coming in the third minute of added time at the end of the game, but the two teams were level at the break after a 45 minutes of football that had home manager Chico Ramos less than impressed.
He said: "It was challenging. We were shocking in the first half and they definitely heard me at half-time.
"We allowed them to play and on our pitch that shouldn’t happen.
"We’d played teams from higher leagues in pre-season and looked so strong. We were getting the ball loads.
"We didn’t do that in the first half but managed it better in the second."
Archie Sayer got two of the four goals, at the beginning of either half, and although the visitors to New Lamb Meadow cancelled both out quickly, further strikes from Jalen Miller and Herculano Carvalho gave Arlesey breathing space and eventually passage to the preliminary round.
And the boss was delighted to see his policy in blooding youngsters paying dividends.
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Ramos said: "I’ve been a PE teacher for 10 years and I’ve always promoted the development side for youngsters.
"And I always said that if, one day I am building a team, which I am now, I’ll mix it and bring some of the youngsters in.
"If you’re good enough then age doesn’t matter.
"Archie Sayer is only 18 but he’s a young man in an adult’s body as he is so tough.
"Josh Setchell who came on late is 18, the full-backs are 18 and 19 and I’m loving it.
"I love to see the desire and the energy they give to us and I think it is the way forward for us and for every team."
The win backed up an opening day draw for Arlesey in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division away to Harpenden Town and Ramos hopes it is the boost in confidence they need to push on this year.
He said: "The draw at Harpenden was amazing. They have been top five for the last few seasons so we will take the draw there on the opening day of the season.
"A draw then and a win in the FA Cup, we’re growing as a team and we need to keep going."