Although it saddens me to say it, there’s a bit of an apparent trend with goalscoring throughout the club in competitive matches.
The first team has the 5th worst “goals for” along with a leaky defence as we are all too aware. So, average of 1.1 goals per game. They sit 4th from bottom of the league.
David Unsworth’s Under 23s have the worst goalscoring record in the Premier League 2 division scoring just 28 goals in 23 games, an average of 1.2 per game. They sit 3rd from bottom of their table.
Even Paul Tait’s Under 18s who sit in a much healthier 4th in the league are the 3rd worst goalscorers with 26 goals in 22 games, an average of 1.2 per game.
It’s increasingly difficult to pull out positive reading at any team level but if there were glimmers of hope this week then it was provided at youth level with two slender 1-0 victories at firstly Sunderland last weekend and again on Tuesday at Blackburn Rovers.
Goalscorers for the Under 18s were Emilio Lawrence at Sunderland and Martin Sherif at Blackburn. Lawrence’s goal against Sunderland was the pick and followed a surging run by Halid Djankpata but it still required a very tidy low finish across the goalkeeper to finish off the move.
The Under 23s meanwhile, in their first outing for 17 days, slipped to a 2-0 home defeat at Southport on Monday night. Goals in each half, one of them an unfortunate own goal header off Rhys Hughes condemned the young Blues to a third consecutive defeat. The team had lined up in a 3-5-2 formation which happily saw the return of the promising forward Charlie Whitaker and also saw midfielder Stanley Mills tried as a right wing back (his father Danny’s old position) once again. Unsworth’s men are undoubtedly suffering performance-wise from the continued injury absence of Tyler Onyango, the loans of Lewis Warrington to Tranmere Rovers and Ellis Simms to Scottish side Hearts plus the promotion to the first team squad of Isaac Price, Reece Welch and Lewis Dobbin. It’s left a bit of a hole in the side.
However, we’ve said it before, these games and the outward loans are there to provide a routeway/ promotion to the first team rather than win titles at junior level. We’ve seen those title winning charges come to very little in recent seasons with perhaps only Anthony Gordon making a breakthrough and even then he was too young and wasn’t a regular in those teams.
Next game up for the ‘18s is this coming Saturday away to Wolves whereas David Unsworth’s team have to wait until Easter Monday when they entertain Chelsea at Southport.