"We'll take some stopping" says Woods after 4-0 victory over Preston North End...WALSALL's youth team bounced back from defeat at Blackpool last weekend by demolishing Preston North End 4-0 in treacherous conditions at Ray Hall Lane on Saturday.
Cameron Peters continued his fine scoring streak as he bagged another brace to take his tally to five in three matches since the winter break. Kory Roberts’ first of the season and a goal from Kyle King completed the rout.
The Saddlers started well and played some terrific football despite the sodden pitch.
Peters pounced after the Lilywhites’ goalkeeper could only parry Maziar Kouhyar’s shot after 17 minutes to ensure Walsall led at the half-time interval.
Less than six minutes into the second period the hosts doubled their advantage through defender Roberts. With the ball bouncing around in Preston’s box after they failed to clear a corner, Roberts seized his chance to fire into the roof of the visitors’ net.
Peters headed home a cross from substitute Ashley Maddocks to cap a wonderful team move, while more intricate play from the Saddlers resulted in King scoring his seventh of the campaign to add a little gloss to the score line.
There was even time for Walsall to miss a late penalty; King was felled when bearing down on goal but Kouhyar couldn’t end another promising display with a goal from the spot.
Neil Woods was delighted with the way his team adapted to the conditions: “I thought the football we played today was very good.
“We were poor last week and we were poor for the wrong reasons so credit to the boys today. The circumstances with the weather and the pitch weren’t ideal, but it’s going to be like that at this time of year.
“This week we were really good in all aspects and our attitudes were as I would expect. I think we’ve seen over the season that when they do get it right, they take some stopping.”
Spectators were left to marvel at the way the Saddlers cut through the Lilywhites’ defence late on, with Woods insisting that by wearing their opponents down they were afforded the opportunity to express themselves in the final 20 minutes.
“You get the last two goals because of the work ethic that you’ve put in for the first 70 minutes of the game. I think it’s very hard for a team to play against you when you make them work as hard as we did and eventually their intensity levels dropped and some of the football that we are capable of playing came through,” he explained.
“That’s a first header for Cameron. He’s had a terrific spell since Christmas scoring goals but his overall performances have been good. An area that he has to concentrate on is his heading so hopefully that will give him a little bit more confidence on that side of things.”
Goalkeeper Bradley Caswell made just his second start of the season following Dan Jezeph’s call-up to the first team and Woods was happy with his contribution, especially when considering that he has been struggling with a knock since last year.
“I’m very pleased with Bradley. He has actually got a slight knee injury and hasn’t really done any goalkeeping since the week after Christmas,” told Woods. “We rang him up when Dan got called up for the first team squad at 4.30pm yesterday (Friday)and asked him if he was alright to play because you can’t make someone play with an injury.
“Straight away he said ‘yes’ and as soon as the lads got into the dressing room after the game they have all gone and congratulated him because his attitude has been first class and his performance was very good today.”
The youngsters take on Carlisle United on Thursday in a rearranged fixture at Ray Hall Lane (12pm kick-off). A win would take the Saddlers up to second place and within one point of table-topping Wigan Athletic.