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We showed real maturity

2 May 2018

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Gareth Holmes was full of praise for his Under 23 side’s mature performance in booking their place in the Professional Development League play-off final.

The Reds sealed a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace after extra time to seal their place in the final, with Bolton Wanderers standing in their way.

Speaking after the game, Holmes said: "The performance was really good. We had asked the boys in the last six games to get back to doing what we had been doing and what we are known for. In those six games we have shown that intensity and I challenged them to do it better tonight and they went about it from the start.

"Credit to Palace, they have had an excellent season and they have some very good players. If you give them the opportunity to play, they have the ability to hurt you.

"But we had a real game plan, we have some good players of our own and we played at that intensity and we want to get on the front foot. Credit to the boys today as they have shown some real maturity and putting that plan into action and it is real credit to them."

Virgil Gomis struck the winning goal three minutes into the additional half-hour and Holmes felt that his side could have won the tie before that.

He said: "We had the chances to, and if I am being critical, I would have liked to have seen a bit more quality in the final third, especially in the first half and also in the second half.

"That is part of the learning, we have seen throughout the season that we can play with the intensity off the ball. We scored nine goals in the last two games before this and that was the difference before tonight, being clinical in the final third."

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