Tony Carr has praised Balint Bajner's performance in the 1-1 draw with Reading Under-18s as the solid start to the new season continued.
The 17-year-old debutant got off to a dream start by finishing a fine team move just five minutes in at Little Heath on Saturday. The home side had chances to extend their lead but could not find the killer second goal. Substitute Christian Montano was then sent off midway through the second half before Reading equalised with 20 minutes to go.
Carr was understandably delighted with his new recruit's contribution. He said: "It's his first game and he scored a good, well-worked goal and started the game really brightly. We're pleased with the start and that really should have been the platform for us to go on and score one or two more and win the game."
The manager was frustrated that luck appeared to desert his side as they missed several opportunities to double their lead. Focusing on the bright forward play that led to the opportunities, Carr said: "Danny Kearns brought a great save that on another day may have gone in. Anthony Edgar went on-on one with the goalkeeper and he saved it - it was a golden opportunity to put us two up."
Montano was then dismissed and the young Royals side took full advantage to score an equaliser. "They got a free-kick on the halfway line and pumped it into the box in the swirling wind. We didn't deal with it very well and it dropped down and they poked it home to make it 1-1. We were down to ten men and it was not so much hanging on as much as making sure we didn't lose," Carr said.
The academy director said the match was a good experience for his youngsters. "Every academy team you play, you have to work for your victory and this was more of a physical battle," he said. "It's just something you have to add to your game. It isn't always about passing, movement and pretty football. Sometimes you have to battle and pout your head to the ball and defend. We were a bit disappointed to have even conceded the goal we did and I suppose a draw was a fair outcome and we played the last 20 minutes with ten men."