Academy Manager on our pre-Christmas set-back...ACADEMY boss, Neil Woods, has reflected upon our 2-0 defeat to Blackpool in The Football League Youth Alliance North-West Division clash at Ray Hall Lane on Saturday.
Woods says it is a ‘sour way’ to go into the Christmas break after such a positive season thus far which has seen the youngsters battling at the top of the division.
Tangerines' pair, Henry Cameron and Joe Moulden scored either side of the break to give The Seasiders victory and Woods was full of praise for our opponents.
“I think Blackpool are a good side," he said. "We played them in the first game of the season and beat them 1-0 but I thought they were decent then as well."
Woods wasn’t pleased with the manner in which we conceded the first goal, but he, like everyone else in attendance was very impressed with the way Blackpool winger Cameron dispatched the resulting free-kick.
“I was very disappointed with the first goal, it was an individual mistake but the execution of the free-kick was very good, so full credit to him for that,” Woods added. “But the build-up to how the free-kick was conceded was very disappointing for us.”
The Saddlers were in League action for the first time in four weeks due to a series of postponements due to bad weather and Woods believes that may have disrupted his side’s rhythm, considering the fact that they had won their previous two games by convincing margins.
“I certainly don’t think that has helped. Some of the lads played on Tuesday (for the reserves) and they were too tired, they shouldn’t have been that tired so that’s something we’ll have to look at.
“It was a very heavy pitch, but I think that would be making excuses that I don’t want to make for them."
Woods understands that some of his players may have been tired but he can’t comprehend a lack of work rate or determination from his players.
“It wasn’t so much the football that dropped off, it was our determination and our attitude, once we went 2-0 down we were never going to get back into the game and that was the biggest disappointment of the day.
“The quality of the performance was not up to scratch and the attitudes towards it weren’t good enough. It’s a very sour way to end the first part of the season and to go into Christmas.”
However, there was one positive for Woods, as he was able to hand a debut to Romario Martin. The forward made the step-up from the under-16s and was thrown on with 30 minutes remaining to try and salvage something from the match.
“Young Romario Martin came on during the second-half and gave us half-an-hour," he continued. "He is an under-16 so that was very pleasing.”
The Saddlers will be looking to begin the New Year with a win when Oldham Athletic visit Ray Hall Lane on Saturday 3rd January (Kick-off 12pm).
By ALEX DICKEN