Current youth team player and first team pro, Ross Sykes, gives an insight into the final day of the U18s pre-season tour to Holland…

Our final day started with an early meet of  7:45am for breakfast. We set off at 8:30am to our final and most challenging match against Dutch giants PSV. The facilities were as expected very impressive and we were excited for the challenge ahead.

psv1

The team almost got off to the perfect start straight from kick off, Harry Blackburn dribbled the ball a few yards before curling a lovely pass into the path of Reagan Ogle who delivered his cross perfectly into the box, only for Joe Rathbone to fire wide. The two sides were evenly matched with Accrington seeming to have the better of the chances, however it was PSV who took the lead through an unlucky own goal from Joshua Hmami, the ball was turned into his own net following some brilliant work from the PSV winger to get his cross in.  Stanley then had the chance to equalise, Niall Watson did some brilliant work down the right hand side, beating his man and going through one vs one with the keeper, only to be denied by a brilliant save from the PSV goalkeeper. PSV then went two up after a well worked counter, although this wasn’t without controversy, as the player looked to have been in an offside position.

psv3

psv2

As the second half began, it was Stanley who had the chance to pull one back through Joe Rathbone, as the ball dropped to him in the six yards area, only for him to fire over the bar. Shortly after PSV nearly made it three, only to be denied by a goal line clearance from Ross Sykes. However, shortly after the ball got played in behind the defense and the PSV striker raced in to slot home and made it 3-0. Stanley continued to battle on however this time they didn’t get any reward, final score PSV 3 – Stanley 0.

After the game the lads stayed at the host’s facilities for dinner  before making their way to the airport for the return flight home to England. The trip has been brilliant, everyone has really enjoyed it and the lads learned a lot about the dutch culture. We have also gained some invaluable experience from playing against foreign teams and working with the NAC Breda coaches. We have all built better bonds and become a stronger team which will hopefully help us throughout the upcoming season.

Accrington Stanley Academy would like to thank the LFE and Academy Trips for their assistance and organisation throughout the tour. We would also like to thank those behind the erasmus+ fund scheme for giving our scholars the opportunity to experience and learn about the dutch culture, and for allowing them the opportunity to play against ADO Den Haag, FC Twente and PSV and for the experience of being coached by brilliant european coaches from NAC Breda.