“I think you always have to be pleased, if you’re 3-1 down in any game, to come back and get a 3-3 draw,” said Iron Under-23s boss Russ Wilcox after his team’s Premier League Cup group stage comeback against Newcastle United at the Sands Venue Stadium.
George Miller hit a hat-trick against the Magpies on Friday night, returning following a quad injury that had ruled him out for the last two months.
He opened his account after nine minutes, but the away side fought their way back into the game and found themselves 3-1 up three minutes into the second period.
Wilcox told iFollow Iron: “It shows the lads have got some good character, but I think overall we did create more chances than Newcastle.
“They’re a good outfit, are Premier League, Category 1, and have some quality players, but we moved the ball around well and created good opportunities. When we went 3-1 down, we went back on the front foot and got back into it.
“I think you saw the good and bad tonight. Without the ball, we’ve got to improve. The goals against were disappointing, we need to look back on those and learn from them as individuals, and collectively as a group. Attacking-wise, we created more chances. Ryan Colclough hit the crossbar twice, and the second one was an outstanding effort, hitting the underside of the bar.
“We got fortunate towards the end where they had to go down to ten men after making all three substitutions and their left-back got injured. That meant we had to go for it, we did that well and could have nicked it at the end too.
“It’s challenging, and it’s great (for the Under-23s) to play out here on the first team pitch. It’s a good experience for them, so hopefully when they do manage to get into the first team, they use that experience of playing here to stand them in good stead.
“One of the keys towards this group is getting the first team lads fit too, and it was great to see Ryan Colclough and Levi Sutton get 90 minutes. We freshened it up with the changes at the end because they went down to 10 men. We brought Harry Jessop on because at the end of the day he’s a goalscorer, and has 12 this season for the youth team. That was the thought process behind that and it nearly worked after a minute, with him having a good chance with his left foot.”
Talking about Miller’s treble, Wilcox continued: “It’s good for him as an individual because it gets him off and running. I know it’s not first team goals but centre-forwards thrive on confidence and hopefully that will give him it. His first goal was an excellent finish after a great throughball, which he took well. The second two were tap-ins, which you want to see as a No 9. When the ball goes wide, you want the No 9 to get between the sticks and he’s done that, and got himself a hat-trick. I’m pleased for him, he’s a good kid and hopefully that will get him up and running.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign-up.