Walsall U18s got their first win of the season in emphatic style as they beat Carlisle United 7-0 - including a Mitchel Candlin hat-trick - away from home in the EFL Youth Alliance.
After a hard week of training, with the injured players working alongside physio Jacob Eyres, The Saddlers set off for the long away trip to Carlisle early in the morning.
The squad was boosted by the return of striker Candlin, back to the U18s following a spell with the first-team squad.
The first half started brightly and within the first minute Carlisle’s keeper made a save from Candlin as the visitors pushed forward for an early goal.
With The Saddlers creating lots of chances but unable to capitalise on any of them, Carlisle broke midway through the first half and young keeper Dominic Rodgerson was forced into making an excellent save.
The scores were goalless at half-time, with Academy Manager Graham Biggs making a tactical substitution at the break and bringing on Owen Nolan for Debert Massamba.
The Saddlers pressed the ball and with some good football and soon took the lead - a beautiful through ball from Dan O’Sullivan found Candlin, who made no mistake from within the penalty box.
Walsall continued to play some very attacking football as well as the defence looking solid throughout the game. Candlin added a couple more goals for a well taken hat-trick as well as Joe Cairns scoring a brace and Dan O’Sullivan adding one to his name along with an own goal.
"This was a really pleasing day," said Biggs. "It was a psychological test for our boys after some good performances over the first few weeks without a win.
"We kept going, working on our beliefs and the philosophy. It was great to come back home with a win and a clean sheet after a very early start and a long trip.
"We will now keep working at things over the next week and see if we can build on this performance."