Football: Drake praises Goddy youngsters after thriller
- Credit: Archant
Godmanchester Rovers manager Ollie Drake was full of praise for his youngsters after coming out on the right side of a seven-goal thriller on Saturday.
The 16-year-old Harvey Gargiulo scored a superb winner to earn his side a 4-3 success over struggling Gorleston in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, who alongside fellow youth player Harrison Radwell, made their senior debuts at Bearscroft Lane.
It was tough work for Rovers to secure the victory, having gone into the break 3-1 up courtesy of Radwell, captain Mike Hyem and top-scorer Jack Chandler.
Gorleston completed their comeback inside five second-half minutes, before conceding late on to a wonderful volley from substitute Gargiulo, who made an instant impact.
“It’s three points, it’s not convincing at all, but I’m more made up for the kids than anybody else,” Drake said.
“We haven’t seen a lot of the kids, but we’ve heard good reports.
“We left two senior players in Matty Allan and Cav King on the bench and we’ve decided to use the kids, and they’ve done us proud.
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“They’ve still got another year of Under 18’s football here, which is even better for us.
“To finish the game with three 16-year-olds who are in the first year of Under 18’s football, we’re very pleased.”
Gianni Cantone was another young talent to feature in the second half, but despite maintaining their push for a runners-up spot, it was certainly a far from dominant performance, which Drake has noticed in recent weeks.
“We haven’t been good enough recently, I think everyone knows that,” he admitted.
“I wouldn’t say half-hearted, but it’s another 50-60% performance and that’s not really where we should be at.
“Gorleston are a good side; we’ve always had to be at our best to beat them and we just scraped through.
“All of a sudden, we were in a position where we were absolutely flying, dominating games and cleaning teams off the pitch.
“We were kicked out the Vase, and it seemed our mentality changed and that wasn’t from management at all.
“We’re all very confused where the domination has disappeared to, so we really don’t know.”
What the Rovers chief does know is there are two important league fixtures remaining, as well as a Hinchingbrooke Cup showdown to look forward to, games he isn’t taking for granted.
“We have no right to start chucking accusations about that we’re good enough to win because what I’ve seen today and probably in the last month, bar the St Neots performance, we don’t deserve to win any game without trying,” added Drake.
“Certainly how we’ve been turning up, we don’t deserve to win any game, so we have to go there and actually turn up to be able to win the game.
“It’s as simple as that.”
Rovers slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Ely City on Easter Monday and finish their league schedule at home to another relegation-threatened side in Great Yarmouth next Saturday (3pm).