Youth Team boss on opening-day victory over reigning champions...YOUTH Team Boss, Neil Woods says his side thoroughly deserved their opening day 3-1 victory over reigning league champions Wigan Athletic.
Goals from Tobias Hayles-Docherty and first year scholars Derbert Massamba and Dan O’Sullivan helped the young Saddlers get off to the perfect start to the new campaign and Woods was quick to heap praise on his players.
“The victory is great but I’m more pleased with the performance, fitness levels and attitude of the boys,” he explained. “It was a good day at the office for us and we deserved the win for lots of reasons.
“They’ve worked extremely hard with Dean Harris on the physical aspect of the game and we looked strong and competitive throughout. After twenty minutes, when get over the initial enthusiasm of it being the first game of the season, we settled into the game and played some good football.
"We were indebted to a penalty save from Brandan Ganley which kept the score line at 0-0 and within 5 minutes we went down other end and Tobias scores at far post which was what we deserved.
"We looked a very well organised and compact team and went in at half-time 1-0 up. We came out, started brightly and scored again within 5 minutes. An individual error was capitalised on by Derbert Massamba who rounded the goalkeeper and put us in complete control.
"Being critical, we should have scored another two or three during a spell of about 20 minutes of dominating the game but we credit to the players for creating those chances.
“Wigan are a very good side, obviously won the division last year and they broke away and scored. But our response was very pleasing and we continued doing the right things which ended up with two subs in Stefan Mason and Dan O’Sullivan linking up for third goal.
"For our first year boys it was a very quick introduction into what competitive football is like at this level against a very strong side.
"I think the second years in particular made the first years debuts more comfortable. There were some very professional and outstanding performances by a number of them which took a lot of weight off the younger lads.
"Next up we play Wrexham at home and as always, I’m looking for us to get better.
"The Wigan game was a great game to highlight all the positives in terms of our attitude, motivation and commitment as well as the actual talent. But it’s part of the player’s development and progression when you have to deal with next game having played well. I think it’s actually easier to approach a game after losing because there’s only one way you can go. But to get better and go again is a big challenge.
"Training will be the same, our expectations remain the same but all the lads are grounded and we’ll get a lot of positives out of them this week I’m sure."