Paul Stancliffe says his U18s side should be proud of what they’ve achieved this season as they finish second in the Youth Alliance League North East Division.
A win on Saturday would have secured the title for the U18s but Rieves Boocock’s second-half strike wasn’t enough to inspire a Rovers comeback.
He said: “It’s not nice, obviously we’re all very disappointed at the moment but overall the lads have no reason to be. You don’t lose the title over one game, it is something that has happened over the season.
“What they have done all season has been really good and I am very proud of them - they’ve been a great bunch to work with. It would have been nice to win it but it wasn’t meant to be.
“Overall, it has been a very successful season: we’ve finished second, out of the eight second years we started the season with, four have gone on to get pro contracts, and three of our players have made first team appearances – it’s been a really successful season and they should be proud of what they’ve done.”
The coach hopes his young players can take lessons from the day after his side were visibly upset at not winning the league.
He added: “We want to win in the right way and I thought today was probably the best we’ve played in the last two or three games we’ve had the chances and not put them away and we needed to be more ruthless.
“Decision-making wasn’t maybe good enough but I don’t think we can say nerves played a part because when the game starts they go. Going down after two minutes doesn’t help and individual decision making in key areas is what let us down today.
“We have to use this experience and hurt from losing to learn a lesson because at the end of the day this is a game of football. As you start playing football from what ever age you begin to learn stuff so hopefully they can take lessons from today and that can be a positive.”