Academy Manager on latest victory...ACADEMY Manager, Neil Woods, was evidently thrilled after watching his side produce a brilliant display to defeat Fleetwood Town 2-0 at Ray Hall Lane on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from Luke Delaney and Levi Rowley ensured that The Saddlers stay hot on the tails of The Football League Youth Alliance North-West Conference leaders, Wigan Athletic.
The Saddlers played some breath-taking football in the first-half to build a lead that The Cod Army never looked like clawing back.
“The performance in the first-half was terrific; we know we’ve got some good footballers,” said Woods. “I thought that in the first-half, we outplayed them and also worked harder than them."
Woods was keen to praise his players for the work-rate that they showed and their desire to win the ball back instantly after they had been dispossessed.
He believes that this is down to the work being done on the training field and was pleased to see his players reaping the rewards.
“Our emphasis in the last few weeks of training has been about our reaction when we lose the ball and the tempo of our play," he continued. "With the ball, they are very comfortable; they are Walsall players and everybody knows what Walsall players can do.
"The question mark is: ‘what can we do when we haven’t got the ball?’ and in the first-half we showed that when we put both together, we look a good team."
Woods accepted that it was always going to be difficult to reproduce the first-half display in the second, considering the fact that his players had put so much effort into the first-half.
He also reserved praise for Fleetwood, who tightened up after being unable to live with the rampant Saddlers in the first-period.
“I think it’s very easy to think you’re going to go out and carry on from the first-half, but don’t get me wrong, I would rather have been in our dressing room at half-time than Fleetwood’s," he added. "We got a little bit sloppy at the back end of the second-half but that is to do with tiredness. I can deal with people being tired when they put that sort of work in.
“I think you have to give Fleetwood credit, they got organised and made it harder for us to play.
“But we still created the chances and even when the game was getting into the last 20 minutes and we didn’t have as much control, I never really felt we were in trouble.”
Neil Woods and his side now have a well-earned week off before they travel to second-bottom Accrington Stanley on Saturday 6th December (kick-off 11.00am).
By ALEX DICKEN