Simon Rusk felt his Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 players stepped up and showed they can deal with the battles of first team football as they lifted the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup.
The young Seagulls overcame League Two outfit Crawley Town 3-0 after extra-time as a tight game ended 0-0 after 90 minutes.
Late efforts from James Tilley, Richie Towell and Joe Ward helped Albion secure the success.
Albion boss Rusk revealed he was proud of his players' efforts and that they managed to keep the game a technical one.
He said: "When you are playing a senior team, and they did have senior players on the pitch with a blend of young ones, we knew that physicality might have been an area of the game that could have had an influence.
"Because of that we put a lot into the priority of moving the ball quickly and making sure the game stays a technical one. Of course there was going to be a physical element, from set-pieces and balls coming in the box was the area of the game where our academy players had to step up and show that they can deal with first team football.
"Overall, they did that well tonight. It was always going to be a tough game, but I think we deserved the win.
"It was tough for us as we are a young side and Crawley have done well this year, they have got some experience on the pitch and some younger players as well.
"The balance of the game was always going to be quite a tight one in the end I am pleased and proud of the players in the way they conducted themselves through the 90 minutes and in extra-time when they stuck at it and eventually got the win.
"It was a couple of quick goals, but it was a tight game and they can go either way at any time in the game.
"Especially against experience players when you have the likes of (Matt) Harrold on the pitch, the ball comes in the box and our centre-halves have to be alive to that threat, so overall I am delighted with the win."