Stanley Youth succumbed to a 4-0 loss against top of the table Bury at the Store First Stadium on Saturday morning.
Head coach John Townson made it clear how he felt: “The major difference for me was the attitude of the players in the first half. We had a couple on our side which weren't up to the levels we expect and the 3-0 score line reflected that.”
Townson did notice an improvement in the second half: “Strong words were delivered to the players at half time and in the second half we did see a big improvement, we just didn't quite finish the chances we created. We proved in the second half when we all work together we are a good team. However, we need to do it from minute one to 90 odd.”
Neither goalkeeper had a particularly taxing start to the match, even if Bury did have more of the early possession. Stanley's best early chance came via a quick break away, started by a Max Hazeldine through ball and ending with a curled shot over the bar by Jack Hartley.
Bury's breakthrough came with a whipped corner to the front post attacked by Bury striker Anthony Dudley. Jack Little could do nothing but watch it nestle in the far corner of his goal.
The first half continued in a similar vein with only fleeting moments of light relief for Stanley. The best of which being a driven Keenan Quansah shot that needed to be saved well by a diving Ruddy.
Bury's second seemed inevitable and when right back Potter took the ball of Dass' toes in the box and laid it off for Shaw there was only one result.
The third followed almost immediately. Stanley's defence were pushing higher up the pitch allowing Bury's Miller to find a way behind the line before smashing his shot into the roof of the net.
It was an all too familiar start to the second half with Bury only needing five minutes to extend their lead via a tap in from a low cross.
Stanley seemed to play the rest of the match with a sense of freedom, creating their best chances including a one on one for striker Hazeldine that ended wide of the far right post.The loss means Stanley stay in 15th in the North West Youth Alliance.
The next match for Townson's team is on Friday when Rochdale travel to QEGS.
Stanley XI: Little, Ogle (Wolfenden 60), Smith, Ruberts, Walsh, Dass (Evans 66), Hickey, Quansah, Hartley, Steenson (Webb 60), Hazeldine
Subs: Scarth, Sykes
Bury XI: Ruddy, Potter, Gibson, Bourne, Poscha, Foulds, Shaw, Osgathorpe, Dudley, Crosdale, Miller
Subs: Williams, Williams, Mulgrew, Harker