Kirkley & Pakefield boss Paul Tong was proud of his young side despite going out of the Suffolk Premier Cup at the hands of Bury Town on Tuesday evening.

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The Royals went behind after 14 minutes against the Ryman League Premier outfit, two divisions above Tong’s men, but it was far from one-way traffic thereafter.

Tong admitted his side thought they did enough to force the match into extra time at Ram Meadow but Allicion Blake’s strike five minutes from time finally put the tie to bed.

“I thought my lads were outstanding,” said Tong. “Bury are a really good footballing side and we also played it in the right manner. We didn’t go there looking to kick people or anything like that – we got amongst them but we also had a bit of quality about us as well.

“We created a few chances and on another night we might have taken a couple of them. I was a bit disappointed we couldn’t force extra time because I thought we deserved to take it to that.”

Kirkley also fell to a 2-0 defeat last Saturday against Brantham and while Tong was frustrated to lose, he was heartened at how his team responded to going behind early on.

“We learned that we can’t afford to start games like that and still expect to get something out of the game,” said Tong, whose side go to Godmanchester tomorrow. “But to be fair to the lads we kept going and it was only an outstanding performance from their goalkeeper that kept us at bay.

“I can’t fault the effort of the lads and the young lads are getting some excellent experience. We want to keep picking up results along the way and we should have got something out of the game.”

With Kirkley cutting their cloth accordingly Tong has no choice but to persist with blooding young players into the senior side but he insists it is a situation he is relishing.

When asked if he is looking to bring in any more senior players he said: “At this moment in time we are not in a position to do that.

“We have to look to the experience we’ve already got in the squad - players like Dominic Smith, Ross King and Craig Roberts.

“They are the experience and we have to play the young lads around them. There’s no problem with that – I said to the young lads that there will be chances for them and there have been.”

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