Professional Development Coach on last gasp Senior Cup defeat…JOHN WARD remained upbeat despite seeing his side crash out of the Walsall Senior Cup following a 3-2 defeat to Lichfield City.
A mixture of youth team and young professionals featured for the Saddlers who ran the Midland Football League outfit all the way in a topsy-turvy encounter.
Having gone behind twice in the game, goals from Jordan Murphy and Amadou Bakayoko drew the visitors level but a late penalty sealed the win for City who are Managed by former Walsall striker Gary Birch.
“It was a good test for the boys,” said Ward. “Lichfield are a team who are doing well in their League and are used to winning games. Some of our lads have only just turned 17 and considering it was a physical encounter they stood up to the test very well.
"But that’s why we put them in, to see how they cope with the demands of men’s football. I thought it was a really good game of football.
"They were more direct and we tried to move it, which really pleased me. It’s disappointing to go behind twice in the game but we clawed our way back and at 2-2 you’re thinking ‘go on then’.
"Jordan Murphy scored with a decent strike which took a deflection over the keeper but he managed to find space to get the shot off in the first place.
"Then at 2-1 down, Sam Tonks delivers a ball from deep and Amadou Bakayoko attacks it really well and just divers the ball goalwards on the volley.
"It was a really good finish from Ama and then you think we’d be the ones to go on to win it. But then we got caught on the edge of our box.
"It’s a decent bit of skill from their lad and despite it being a foul a few of our boys thought it was outside the area.
"Dan Jezeph then saves the penalty but could only push it back out in to the box and they finish the rebound. Sometimes it’s not meant to be and I really felt for the players because they had a really good go.
"We had a nice blend of younger players and more experienced ones at this level and they would have all learned a lot from the game.
"It was a good contest between two good teams and we wish Lichfield all the best in the next round."