Woods's men come out on top in a battle with Burnley...WALSAL under-18s won their third game in the space of a week to heap pressure on their rivals in the race for the Football League Youth Alliance North-West Division title.
Neil Woods’ side cruised to a 3-1 victory over Burnley at Ray Hall Lane courtesy of Tobias Hayles-Docherty’s brace and another sensational goal from midfielder Will Shorrock.
Woods was content with his side’s showing after a busy week, which saw them defeat Boston United to reach the Midland Youth Cup final on Wednesday.
“We had some very tired bodies out there today, we’ve tried to change it as much as we could and we’ve actually started with seven first-years.
“Quality-wise it wasn’t up to the levels that we can play at and have played at all season but we stuck at it and scored two stunning goals. The first finish and the last finish were just stunning.
“Tobias’ finish for the first goal, there was only one possible place that could go in,” Woods explained. “And the goal from Will, we have seen him do that three or four times now this year.
“It really epitomises the level Will’s playing at right now. He scored two in midweek and is a constant threat. I’m glad to see he’s actually starting to get noticed because he works really hard.
“We probably needed that because we didn’t have the energy and the brightness but I think it’s probably another good learning curve. There are going to be days when you don’t feel 100 per cent.
“It was a grind, they’ve just said in the dressing room that they found it hard physically from the first minute to the last so we have to be really pleased with what we’ve done.”
With less than three weeks of the season remaining, the Saddlers are still battling Wigan Athletic and Bury for the crown.
While Woods concedes it’s unlikely that they will come out on top, due to the games-in-hand their rivals have, he says that they will be trying to prolong the race for as long as possible.
“We can’t affect the league, if Bury and Wigan win their games, they will finish first and second,” he added. “We are hoping one of these weekends that they will slip up together. They’ve got to play each other yet and they’ve both got to play us.
“We can still make it interesting. Our conversations in the week are just about taking it to another week and seeing what happens, we’ve definitely taken it to another week now.
“It would be very easy to become an end of season feeling, but they aren’t letting that happen.
“We’ve got a very tough game against Port Vale on Saturday, they beat us down here and were better than us on the day.
“We’ve got a challenge with that one, but then we’ll move on and see where we are in the league after that.”