ALAN McLoughlin praised the character displayed by his Swindon Town U18s side after they battled back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-3 draw at home to Oxford United in the Youth Alliance League.

Jordan Edwards, Sol Pryce and Ralph Graham were all on target for Swindon at Stanley Park as they continued their strong start to the new season.

Although McLoughlin felt his team could have gone on to win the game after levelling the scores, he was impressed at how they responded after getting themselves into a difficult position.

“It was an exciting game for the neutral but not so great for me and my staff on the sidelines,” said McLoughlin.

“We gifted goals to Oxford and we don’t normally do that, we normally make teams work quite hard for goals.

“We were 2-1 down at half-time having dominated most of the first half in terms possession but without taking our chances.

“We then conceded a very sloppy goal after about 10 minutes of the second half but thereafter, we really dominated and managed to get the game back to 3-3 and really should have gone on and won it.

“I am pleased with the way they came back and didn’t give in but not very happy with how we gifted Oxford goals to give ourselves a mountain to climb.

“We showed character to come back and never gave in.”

The result is Town’s first draw in the Alliance League this term, with the team having won six of their other eight fixtures in that competition.

With his troops also going strong in cup competitions, McLoughlin is more than satisfied with how the club’s young charges are developing.

“It’s been fantastic. As an U18s team, I think we have lost twice in 18 or 19 games, drawn once and won the rest,” said McLoughlin.

“They have been fantastic and we have got a really busy period coming up where lots of players will probably be involved in lots of reserve games. That will be a really tough time physically.

“We are also into the quarter-final of the Youth Alliance Cup and we have the FA Youth Cup to come in November.

“I am more than happy with the players considering I have 10 first year scholars. I am delighted with the way they have approached the season and been competitive and taken on board what we’ve said.”