Pro Development Coach beaming after 8-0 victory...Professional Development Coach, John Ward, described his side’s Senior Cup performance against Tividale as ‘exceptional’ after the Saddlers recorded an 8-0 victory on Tuesday night.
Amadou Bakayoko and Josh Ginnelly each bagged a hat-trick, with Maziar Kouhyar and an own goal completing the scoring.
It was virtually an under 21 side who took to the field at the Beeches with Craig MacGillivray the elder statesman of a line-up which included the likes of Sam Tonks, Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Milan Butterfield and Kory Roberts.
“Taking into account the opposition, it was a good evening for us and we played exceptionally well,” explained Ward. “We maintained a good level of football throughout and came away with a lot of well wishes from Tividale themselves.
"It was a young side but that’s what we’re trying to do at the club. We want to progress these boys careers and they done themselves the power of good.
"We dealt with the situation of going to play a non-league side on a Tuesday night and we knew we were going to find out how important the game was to the players. They answered that question and you could see that they’re all pushing very hard for a future at our football club.
"We were made to work hard early on.
"We went 2-0 up and I remember thinking we need another and got the third just before half time which was great timing.
"Then our fitness side of the game told really, we looked very strong against a side who are only part time. But we can only do what we did.
"It was a very thorough performance and we counted 27 efforts on goal but only 10 in first half which tells the story of the game really.
"It was a great one for Josh [Ginnelly]. He’d had ups and downs not being in first team squad but his reaction to yesterday was excellent. He and Amadou will relish their three goals but it was particularly good for Josh to give him some belief.
"He showed a lot of ability and skill and it’s up to him now to push on. I’ll feedback to the management staff and Dean Holden was there anyway so he will have seen his performance.
"We go into the second round and the huge plus is that we’ve got another game because we’ve had two teams drop out of league which reduces our minutes on the pitch.
"These cup ties toughen the lads up. When we go away from home and come up against all ages and surfaces, it toughens up their minds and body. It’s always good to see if we can cope with it physically and mentally.
"We had some good fixtures last year and took young sides to Lichfield and Stafford and found it tough so hopefully we have learnt from those games and have a few similar ones this season."
Starting line up: MacGillivrary, Tonks (Shorrock '75), Cockerill-Mollett, K.Roberts, Preston, Kouhyar, Sangha, Butterfield, Kinsella, Ginnelly, Bakayoko
Un-used Subs: Peters, Hallwood, Cela, Maddocks