Director of Youth Mike Dove was pleased to see his Under-18s side progress through to the second round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday evening.
“Dave (Oldfield) and I were pleased with the boys,” Dove told mkdons.com. “We’d worked quite hard with them in the week and they listened and all I can say is well done because it was an FA Youth Cup night and we’ve got a 5-2 win.
“I thought the boys started and ended the game strong. We spoke to them at half-time about not letting complacency creep in and told them to be wary of the counter attack because they’ll come out bright and eager to get at us.
“We had that spell where they got back to 3-1 and then 3-2 but we made a couple of changes, changed the shape a little bit and I thought after their second goal we found our legs again.
“If we play our game, which is moving the ball quickly with quality and technique, then we’re difficult to play against, but if we slow the game down we let them back in and that’s what we did for that little spell.
“We showed character to come back from 2-0 down in that second half, if you like, and come away with a good, convincing victory.”
The result largely came thanks to the goal-scoring exploits of second-year scholar Tshimanga, who took his goal tally for the Under-18s this season to a fantastic 27 with his treble.
Dove added: “We don’t want to get too excited but he’s got 27 goals now and we’re just into November, which is fantastic.
“If I got back a year ago to a Southend United away game, I remember pulling him aside and telling him to work on his left foot because it was poor. Credit to him, he’s come back as a second year and he’s certainly got more to his game than he did this time last year.
“He’s learning how to get use to his strength and he’s holding the ball up well. His development in the past year has been terrific and if he keeps performing like this then he’ll keep causing opponents problems and the first-team manager will start to take notice.”
He continued: “I also thought Giorgio did well too, he was his usual creative and clever self. We lost a little bit of that when Giorgio went off at half-time but I thought Jack (Hadden) did well in his place and worked very hard in the middle.”
Dove’s side will travel to Rodney Parade to face the Exiles in the second round, with a date to be confirmed in due course.