Young saddlers taste tangerine defeat...Neil Woods’ youth team suffered a first defeat of the season at the hands of Blackpool in a Football League Youth Alliance North-West Division clash at Ray Hall Lane on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from James Doyle, Macaulay Wilson (pen) and Elliot Pond ensured the visitors ran out worthy 3-0 winners and ended the Saddlers’ unbeaten run, a streak stretching back nine matches including the tail end of last season.
The Saddlers found visiting goalkeeper, Myles Boney, in inspired form as he pulled off spectacular saves to deny Nathan Owen, Maziar Kouhyar and Cameron Peters to preserve the Tangerines’ lead.
Academy manager, Neil Woods, admits the Lancashire side deserved their victory but felt that the score line flattered his team’s opponents.
“I think that the score line makes it appear worse than it was. In the first-half we lost two goals from two individual errors and you can’t legislate for that,” said Woods.
“Coming in two-nil down makes the game very difficult. Blackpool are a strong team, they were always going to be very difficult to break down,” he added.
“I don’t think we deserved to come in behind at all first-half – I thought we’d just edged it.
“It looked as though there was only going to be one goal in the game. I was pleased with our structure, we just didn’t quite get in behind them enough or create enough clear-cut opportunities.
“The result was a fair reflection but I don’t think the score line was.”
The visitors were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Callum Cockerill-Mollett was adjudged to have fouled Kit Gregory inside the area, a decision that Woods has no complaints about.
“The mistake was made before that. By trying to correct himself, as soon as he went in for the challenge, he knew it was going to be a penalty.”
Despite the uphill battle that his players were facing after the interval, Woods’ side did everything they could to haul themselves back into the game, something which he was quick to praise.
“For 25 minutes after half-time we had a real go. We have to give their goalkeeper some credit, he made some wonderful saves. We played some good football and basically did everything but score,” he continued.
“Sometimes you get the feeling that it’s not going to be your day.”
Woods’ team remain on the tails of league leaders Shrewsbury Town and could climb to the summit, should they win their games in hand.
But for now their focus turns to the cup, the youngsters will travel to Wrexham on Saturday looking for a similar result to the one they managed a couple of weeks back at Ray Hall Lane when they beat the Dragons 1-0.