A PENALTY shootout win against Newport County booked Swindon Town U18s’ spot in the second round of the English Football League Youth Alliance Southern Cup second round this afternoon.

Despite trailing by two goals to nil with half-an-hour played, Anthony Lynn netted a brace while Max Whitfield’s strike in between forced the game beyond 90 minutes after regular time ended 3-3.

Town won the shootout 4-3, though U18s boss David Farrell was left frustrated by Chris Francis’ red card – which has ruled him out of the next three Youth Alliance fixtures against Bournemouth, Plymouth and Forest Green.

Levels of character impressed Farrell most, but he was also pleased by the reaction from a number of his players following a disappointing performance against Yeovil on Saturday in the league.

He said: “We had to grind the result out – we started really poor and found ourselves two goals down after 30 minutes.

“That sparked us into life a bit, we improved after the initial lull.

“Penalties is always a lottery, but we took good penalties and booked our spot in the next round, which is what it’s all about.

“As a coach, I’m still looking for performances – and there were some bright sparks unlike on Saturday (against Yeovil).

“But there are lots of things we have to work on when we’re out of possession.”

Several changes were made by both teams ahead of kick-off, with Farrell keen to experiment with his starting XI ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bournemouth.

The Town U18s boss is still unsure regarding what side he will pick in Dorset this weekend.

Regardless, he expects an extremely tough battle against a side that has scored 11 goals and conceded just one from their opening three games.

“We made a few changes, and players that haven’t played much this season featured,” said Farrell.

“Everyone knows what to expect now, but it’s difficult to say if anyone has nailed down a starting spot for Saturday (against Bournemouth), which will be an unbelievably tough game.

“I’ll dwell on it over the next couple of days.

“Bournemouth are the strongest team in the league. Hopefully, we can go there and give a good account of ourselves.

“Bournemouth have wiped the floor with teams this season, we are going to be well up against it – but I quite enjoy it.

“I want players to fight for everything, I love those adverse situations where we are presented with a clear challenge.”