Richard O'Kelly takes the positives from 2-0 cup defeat...DESPITE being knocked out of the Birmingham Senior Cup at the hands of Stratford Town, Assistant Manager Richard O’Kelly insists his young players will have learnt a lot from the experience.
The Saddlers suffered a 2-0 defeat at the DCS Stadium on Wednesday evening but O’Kelly insists there were plenty of positives to take from the game.
“It was a great example of all the reasons we wanted to enter the competition,” he explained. “Our youngsters will have benefited form the experience of a game against a good side in Stratford Town.
“We had one of our most experienced sides out in a while with the likes of Sam Mantom, Reece Flanagan and James Baxendale all involved from the start.
“It was a difficult surface for both teams to play on. Stratford are well organised and very competitive so it was another good test for the players.
“There wasn’t a lot in the game in the first half. They possibly edged the opening exchanges but then we finished the stronger and began to dominate possession and move the ball around nicely.
“The second half started a little scrappy but we soon got to grips with the game and tried to pass it.
“We then gave a free kick away on the edge of the box and it’s taken a couple of deflections and ended up going in.
“I think going behind to a decent side was another learning curve for our players. We had to learn how to react and deal with the set back and hopefully we’ll take a lot of good lesson from that point of view.
“We kept going and never gave in. The attitude of the players was good and as we’ve pushed forward to get the equaliser, they’ve added a second in the dying moments of the game.
“We’ll take a lot from the experience. It was a good chance for Sam Mantom to get some game time as he recovers from his injury and Liam Roberts was particularly bright as well.”
Starting XI: L.Roberts, J.Smith, K.Roberts, K.Rowley, Preston, Kinsella, L.Rowley, Mantom, Flanagan, Baxendale, Bakayoko
Subs: Cockerill-Mollet (70’ Mantom), Kouhyar (80’ Flanagan), Sangha (80’ L.Rowley)
Unused Sub: Jezeph