Saddlers edge past Rugby Town after penalty shoot-out...SADDLERS Assistant Manager, Richard O’Kelly was thrilled with the attitude and application of his players after they came through a penalty shoot-out to beat Rugby Town.
Goalless after 90 minutes, the Birmingham Senior Cup tie was eventually decided by Jordan Sangha’s spot kick after Rob Parker and Kevin Thornton had their efforts saved by Saddlers keeper Dan Jezeph.
O’Kelly, along with Professional Development Coach, John Ward, took a young side to Butlin Road but insisted the players will all have benefitted from the experience.
“It was first class,” he commented. “Rugby Town were very well organised, competitive and they gave us a real test.”
“It was interesting to see how we coped, athletically, tactically and in the end emotionally when it came to penalties.
“There were periods in second half where we were under lot of pressure.
“Dan Jezeph and Matt Preston marshalled the defence tremendously well and we managed to keep a clean sheet which is always pleasing.
“When you look at the last fifteen minutes of the game, both teams were tiring.
“We had a lot of youngsters out there who have played over the weekend but we stuck together and stayed organised.
“I don’t think we passed the ball as much as we wanted but our resilience showed to stay in the game.
“Jordan Murphy was probably our biggest threat all night."
“Eventually though, it came down to penalties and Dan’s [Jezeph] made two saves, one of them was outstanding. You really have to see it!
“And Jordan Sangha’s had the composure to win it with his penalty going in off the post.
“So a great experience for the players and to come through penalties where there’s a little bit more pressure will have added to their experience even more."
Starting Line-up: Jezeph, Kinsella, Smith, Sangha, Preston, Plummer, Oliver, Kouhyar, Bakayoko, Murphy, Owen
Subs: Roberts, King, Vann