Cameron Peters netted a second-half hat-trick as Walsall’s Development Squad thrashed Hartlepool 5-1 at Victoria Park.
Ethan Freemantle nodded the Saddlers’ second string into an early lead but Pools trialist Andrei Ardelean tucked home an equaliser on the half-hour.
John Ward’s side ran riot after the break, with a Peters treble and a Dylan Parker effort sealing an emphatic win in our final match of the Central League North season.
“It was a really strong performance from everybody,” said Ward, the Saddlers’ Professional Development Coach.
“We had a four-hour journey to Hartlepool, and obviously a four-hour journey back. To put in that kind of performance after being sat on a coach from eight in the morning, and only arriving an hour before kick-off, just showed the character of the boys.
“We went in at half-time level and in the first half we’d had a fair bit of the ball and maybe not had enough shots at goal. But in the second half that materialised. We had good possession, scored four goals and hit the bar a couple of times. We dominated the second period but we had to earn the right to do that over the first 45 minutes.
“Our passing and attitude was good. We tried hard to keep the football and move it forward. We got crosses in and the front three of Cameron Peters, Ethan Freemantle and Dylan Parker all got goals."