With the rather youthful complexion of Blyth Spartans starting line-up for the game against Ilkeston on Tuesday night, it would be safe to assume Tom Wade could have mistaken himself for a school teacher.
If that is so the Spartans manager can be happy to see his side make the grade as a Craig Hubbard penalty and a Dan Maguire brace ensured they “learnt the lessons” from throwing away a two-goal lead against Worksop Town earlier in the season.
“We learnt the lessons from Worksop earlier in the season, but we should have won more comfortably tonight,” said the Croft Park boss.
“I think in all honesty Saturday took the legs out of us a bit and I think it was tiredness rather than making the wrong decisions that let them back into the game.”
Saturday’s defeat at Skelmersdale United saw Spartans’ back four take some criticism, but Wade was quick to back centre back partnership Arjun Purewal and Nathan Buddle.
The duo were irrepressible in the win over the Robins with both displaying the features that has seen them become firm favourites amongst the Green Army, even this early into their Croft Park careers.
Wade said: “We could have changed the centre backs but we believe in Arjun and Buddle.
“They are still learning and it’s a pain thing, I guess, you have to live with some inconsistency but tonight I really thought they were superb.”
Whilst there are severaly new faces for Wade to talk about in the Spartans dressing room, he praised a player he knows only too well.
Having seen striker Dan Maguire develop from an eleven-year-old into a fully fledged striker at Croft Park, Wade described the young forward as a “one off”, but insisted there will be more to come from the former Seaton Delaval man.
“He’s a joy to have at the club and no matter where we play him he just gets on with it,” said Wade.
“He played in three different positions tonight and was outstanding.
“When we went to two up top you could see him and Ash Davis are learning how to play together, but ‘Nipa’ is just a one off.
“The scary thing is we think he will only get better.”
Wade will hope that his prediction comes true not only for Maguire but for the whole Spartans squad as they will look to finish near the top of the class come the end of term in May.