Kevin Keen has paid tribute to his young reserves after they kept up their impressive home record with a professional performance against Derby County this week.
Although Tony Stokes, from the penalty spot, and Junior Stanislas got the first-half goals in the 2-1 win at Bishop's Stortford, Keen was also impressed by the more inexperienced players in his lineup such as midfielder Tom Harvey. "I think we deserved it," he said. "It was two very young teams for a reserve game and a good experience for a couple of ours. Tom Harvey came in and did really well on one of his first appearances.
"He was probably the pick of our players but first half we were a little bit slack so we had a bit of a dig at them to get ready for the second half. I thought then we controlled it, and had chances without really finishing them off. It is a good win." Turning to others who impressed, he said: "Daniel Kearns came on and did some really good things in the last ten minutes and Anthony Edgar kept going. It was a young team, but they kept going to the end and we could have had one or two more chances before the end."
The oldest outfield player on view was the 24-year-old France winger Julien Faubert who was given a pre-planned 45 minutes as he works his way back to full fitness. Keen said: "I thought Julien did really well. He has come back and looked as fit as he has probably looked since pre-season. Hopefully that will give him a boost and maybe we will get him another couple of games in that first team which is what we are looking for before the end of the season. It would be good."
It is unlikely that United will overhaul Aston Villa at the top of the Barclays Premier Reserve League southern section but considering the lack of striking options, the form of late should be commended. "With Zavon [Hines] and JJ [Jack Jeffery] out on loan, we are struggling a little bit for front men so Stokesy, who is now a midfield player but used to be a forward when he was younger, has had to go up front which is tough for him ... they linked up well and Junior's always got that little bit of something that he might make something happen."
There was also special mention for young left-back Joe Widdowson, who has shown the benefits of some first-team experience this year at Rotherham United. "I thought he did really well for the goal for Junior," said Keen, as he reflected on the defender's surge up the flank before crossing for England Under-19 international to smash in what proved the decisive goal.
Finally, Keen paid tribute to the facilities at Woodside Park."The thing that keeps bringing us back here is the pitch," he said. "The pitch is excellent. We go to certain non-league grounds where it is not the best, let's put it that way. The pitch is good, the facilities are wonderful and they really look after us. We lost our first game here against Aston Villa but apart from that we have done very well." United will conclude their league campaign for the season away to Arsenal on 21 April.