Academy Manager looks back at Saturday's action...ACADEMY manager, Neil Woods, was pleased with his players’ efforts after they conceded a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with Preston North End at Ray Hall Lane on Saturday.
Woods’ side went into the match looking to bounce back after back-to-back defeats to Bury and Burton Albion respectively, the latest coming to the Staffordshire-based side at Banks’s Stadium in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday Evening.
Woods confirmed that there have been meetings between himself and the players after a slump in form has seen The Saddlers fall off the top of The Football League Youth Alliance North-West Division table.
“We’ve had a lot of meetings and a lot of chats, both individually and as a group," admitted Woods. "We’ve done a lot of work since Tuesday’s game and it was pleasing to see that some of it was taken on board today.
“Nobody is questioning the ability these lads have got, but just at times whether they know where and when to use it.
“The basics and our all-round decision making was a lot better on this occasion."
Woods was clearly disappointed for his team after victory was snatched from them late in the game after Brendan Pooni had given them a second-half lead.
Unfortunately, Preston’s Sam Livesey climbed highest to head home a corner in the last minute of normal time to deny The Saddlers what would have been a hard-earned victory.
“I actually feel really disappointed for the players because I think we have really competed very well, worked very hard and played some very good football at times, too," he added. “The nature of the goal always makes it harder for us to take, but Preston are a good side as well.
“I’m disappointed from the aspect of the result because I thought over the game we probably just did enough to win, although it was very close.
“I’m more disappointed for the players not getting what they deserve out of the game rather than the performance."
But Woods was really happy with the overall performance from his youngsters after such a testing week, today’s game was their third in the space of seven days.
“I’m delighted, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. It was two good sides having a right battle."
WALSALL: Jezeph, Owen, Lewis, Sangha, K. Rowley, R. Smith, Delaney, Pooni (Reid), Shakespeare, L. Rowley, Henry. Subs not used: Sharrock, J. Smith, Oliver, Roberts.
By ALEX DICKEN