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WARD HAILS GRITTY SADDLERS AFTER FURTHER CUP PROGRESS

18 January 2017

Hard working display sees Saddlers into the Walsall Senior Cup Semi-Final…

Professional Development Coach, John Ward says his players had to “dig in” against Romulus on Tuesday evening to secure a safe passage into the last four of the Walsall Senior Cup. 

The young Saddlers came from behind for the second time in a week to record a 2-1 victory over the Northern Premier First Division South’s ninth placed side. 

Goals from Captain Jordon Sangha and Liam Kinsella completed a first half turn around after Malachi Farquarson headed the hosts in front after 14 minutes.

“It was an excellent result for the reason that it was a hard one to come by,” Ward told saddlers.co.uk. “Romulus played very well on the night and we had to dig in and work hard to win the game. 

“Last week we played some really good football but this was a different kind of performance. 

“We didn’t play as well as the Solihull game but credit to the opposition for making it a tough match for us. It may not have been free flowing football at times but there was a lot of hard work put in. 

“I don’t like going behind in games but once we’d conceded the boys responded really well and their reaction made sure we got ourselves back level very quickly. 

“We kept getting on the ball and tried to do the right things and were rewarded with a second goal. 

“I said the same last week, we’d have probably lost that game last year with the same group but they’re a year older now and are dealing with set backs very well together.” 

Ward highlighted the contribution made by his three central midfielders and insisted the talented trio are striking up an impressive understanding. 

"Liam [Kinsella] and Jordon [Sangha] are both leaders,” he added. “Jordon captained us again, even though Kory Roberts was back in the team following his spell with the First Team and led by example. 

"Liam is a fantastic personality to have in the group, he’s a leader and the others look up to them and respond. 

"There’s a really good work ethic anyway but those two set the stall out for the rest and really set the tone. 

"Add Milan Butterfield into the mix now and the three of them are developing an exciting understanding in the middle of the park. 

"It’s something we’re hoping will progress further because they’re three very confident young men.

“We lost the game early on in the season to Port Vale and every game since offers a different challenge. Romulus were a very good test but there’s a strength about our boys now and we want to win every match. 

“That’s something that we wanted to instil in the group because it’s what we’re in the game for. The players as pleased to win games as I am which is important because the next stage is the first team where the result becomes the most important aspect.” 

The former Bristol Rovers boss included teenagers Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Sam Tonks, Cameron Peters, Tobias Hayles-Docherty and Brandon Ganley in his starting line-up and paid tribute to his young contingent. 

“They’re becoming regular starters in the development squad and they’re developing really well. 

“Callum [Cockerill-Mollett] and Sam [Tonks] at full back are playing a lot of football. They’ll play in a big game on Saturday and then again for us next week so we’ve got to manage this group because they’re getting a lot of minutes in. 

“They aren’t fazed by development football and you can see the steady progression in them all. 

“Graham [Biggs] and I were discussing the fact that as good as it is, we have to manage them and make sure they get their recoveries right because they’re playing Saturday – Tuesday week after week.”

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