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WOODS ON CUP EXIT

5 November 2014

Acedemy Manager on our home defeat to The Brewers...

THE SADDLERS' Academy Manager, Neil Woods, has praised his side’s second-half showing despite bowing out of the FA Youth Cup after slipping to defeat against Burton Albion at the Banks’s Stadium.

Walsall trailed at the break thanks to a brace from Albion’s Mark Shelton, including a 25-yard blockbuster. Shelton struck his second less than five minutes after Levi Rowley had brought us level.

“I was very pleased with the second-half, we talked about it at half-time. I think it was a little bit of luck that was missing in the second-half,” said Woods. “The football and some of the chances we made were terrific.

“The control of the game and the football we played second-half, apart from the last 10 minutes which gets a little bit frantic, I thought was excellent. We did everything in the second-half, but score."

But Woods did concede that the first-half performance was below-par from The Saddlers.

“I was disappointed with the first-half, not just because we came in at 2-1," he added. "The distances of the team were wrong, the back four was so deep, we would get some passages of play going but as soon as we lost it, we invited them to come and attack. 

“The first goal was disappointing but for the second goal, you’ve got to give the guy credit with the finish.

“We didn’t quite close him down quickly enough, but it’s a great finish. The timing of it wasn’t great because we were just starting to get a hold of the game and start controlling what was going on.”

Despite feeling that his side should have got more from the game, Woods doesn’t want to take anything away from a Burton Albion side that battled hard for their victory. 

“You’ve got to give Burton credit, if we had got our blocks in like they did we would have said it was great defending, so it depends on which camp you are coming from.”

However, Woods was pleased with the reaction he got from the players after losing 3-0 at Bury over the weekend. 

“That was a million miles better than what we saw on Saturday," he went on. "I still think we can have a little bit more competitiveness about us and a little bit more aggression at times.”

Woods wants to put this result behind us now and look forward to Saturday as we return to League action, playing host to Preston North End at Ray Hall Lane, Great Barr (kick-off 11.00am). We currently sit second in The Football League Youth Alliance North-West Conference having been table-toppers for the majority of the season thus far. 

“We have to react, we can’t change the result now, however disappointing it is. We wish Burton good luck. Based on the performance, did they deserve to win? It’s a bit irrelevant now because they have. 

“We’ve got to bounce back, we play Preston on Saturday who are a very good side.”

By ALEX DICKEN

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