Youth team lift the Midland Youth Cup...THE SADDLERS' youth team secured some silverware by lifting the Midland Youth Cup on Friday evening with a 4-2 extra-time victory over Notts County.
There was drama in the warm-up when skipper,, Matt Preston, was forced to pull out of the game with a back problem, forcing a late change as Alex Dallison started in the heart of defence.
"We started the game well and went ahead with a goal from Jake Heath from a set-piece that we have worked on a lot in training," said Academy Manager, Neil Woods. "Our opponents had a physical approach to the game and, to be honest, our players had little protection as we tried to get the ball down and play.
"Notts County equalised but for the remainder of the opening period we were the most prominent side. We deserved to be in front at the break but at 1-1 we spoke to the lads and told them to keep working hard, believing in themselves and doing the right things.
"We came out with purpose for the second period and were on top for the majority. We regained the lead with a free-kick from Reece Flanagan and for the next 20 minutes played some lovely football without being able to get that third goal to kill the game off.
"We had a penalty five minutes from time which was saved and then our opponents went down the other end to equalise and take the game to extra-time.
"Jacob Hobbis soon made it 3-2 and although there were some tired bodies out there, we kept plugging away and sealed the win with a fourth goal on 120 minutes through Reece Flanagan.
"I was really pleased for the boys; the effort and commitment was superb and I was delighted how we looked fitness-wise. The lads dealt extremely well with what was thrown at them and stuck rigidly to their beliefs in how the game should be played.
"They were very worthy winners."
WALSALL: R. Jones, Sinton, Henry, Heath (Ashmore), Christopherou, Dallison, Hobbis, Flanagan, Griffiths, Rush (Kinsella), Reid (Bakayoko). Sub not used: Roberts.