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Youth Team Report: Walsall 1-4 Blackpool

27 November 2017

Walsall Under-18s were on the wrong end of a five-goal game which was all but sealed in the first half as Blackpool made Graham Biggs’ side pay for their mistakes.

With just 11 minutes on the clock, Rowan Roache latched onto a ball that had been played back across the box to fire in the Seasiders' first of the afternoon, and his.

And as the clock struck 20 minutes Blackpool had their second, this time through Will Dunne who capitalised on a poor back pass from captain Stefan Mason before slotting his effort past the onrushing Brandon Ganley.

Five minutes later and the visitors were able to add their third, this time from the penalty spot after Debert Massamba was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box. Up stepped Roache who calmly placed the ball into the bottom left corner.

As the half hour mark passed, Blackpool added to their goal tally again following a mistake at the back. Emil Jaaskelainen, who was a late addition to the starting XI, pounced on the misplaced pass before tucking it home.

In the second half Walsall were much the better of the two teams and on 67 minutes they were rewarded for their efforts when first-half substitute Dylan Parker fired the ball home.

However, despite their best efforts on goal, the Saddlers were unable to produce any other moments of magic.

But that isn’t something that is concerning manager Biggs, who insists these sorts of games are big learning curves for the players.

He said: “We have been talking quite a lot about the mental side of our play with the boys and we set them a challenge at half-time to go and win the second half and they did.

“We were pretty much camped out in the Blackpool half all of the second half but what disappoints me is that we can’t legislate for mistakes at all and in football you usually get punished.

“In the first half I thought we started really brightly and were playing some really good football, following the club's philosophy. Mistakes led to pretty much all of their goals, with misplaced passes and Debert handballing it in the box. I don’t know how you legislate for things like that because it isn’t down to lack of effort and it’s certainly not down to lack of togetherness or team spirit or even coaching, they are just mistakes that happen in games.

“I hope the lads will now learn from their mistakes. It is really hurting at the moment and I hope the lads are hurting as well because if it does it means that we can bounce back and become stronger. We are just being punished at the moment.

“We don’t seem to make just one mistake in a game at the moment, we seem to make two, three or even four. I’m hoping the lads can now go away and reflect on this performance and then come back stronger.”

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