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Academy

Under-18s: Walsall 1-1 Morecambe

3 December 2018

A last-gasp equaliser from Luke Little secured the young Saddlers a share of the spoils at home to Morecambe.

This game was a physical one from the first whistle and both sides had their chances in the opening exchanges. The first chance of the game did fall to the visitors, when Kai Herbert found space in the Saddlers box but Herbert’s effort was well saved by Dominic Rogerson in the Walsall goal.

The first Walsall chance came in the 14th minute when Joe Willis won back possession and fed Kian Flanagan but his shot was saved by Olivier Jumeau. The young Saddlers had another chance straight away as Willis had a shot from the top of the Morecambe box but it was gathered by Jumeau.

Morecambe did take the lead just after the half-hour mark, when Freddie Price was able to find room in the Walsall area and finished past Rogerson into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

The rest of the half was tense and neither side were able to create any clear-cut chances.

The second half began in the same way as the first, with Morecambe the team to have the first chance, when Price broke into the Walsall box but, yet again, Rogerson was equal to the effort. The young Saddlers went straight back up the other end and, from an Owen Nolan corner, the ball fell to Flanagan whose snap-shot cannoned off the crossbar and went over.

Morecambe did have one more chance in the 74th minute when Herbert was able to break free but another brilliant from Rogerson denied him again.

Walsall kept pressing for an equaliser but chances were at a premium. The young Saddlers had a flurry of half chances in the last 15 minutes of the game. The first came from an in-swinging free-kick which was headed just wide by Joe Brown, then Alfie Bates had a driven effort from just outside the box but it was well held by the Morecambe keeper.

It looked to be one of those afternoons for the young Saddlers but in added time, Bates swung in one last corner and it found the head of Little who ghosted in at the back post and headed home to rescue a point for Walsall.

Academy Manager Graham Biggs was pleased with his team’s attitude and the way they didn't stop pushing for an equaliser, saying: “We had a never give up attitude, the boys stuck together and they kept going until the death.”

He also praised the work ethic of his players throughout the game, saying he knew the team would keep getting chances and one of them would pay off eventually.

Biggs commented: “We spoke as staff on the side, we know will we get another chance. There were blocks, decent saves but we were creating. I know it’s an old adage but it’s the hardest thing in football to score a goal so doing what we did, I was really pleased with how we played.

As the conditions get worse in the winter months, Biggs stressed the importance of keeping his players match fit in the coming weeks, stating: “It’s one thing being training fit but it is a completely different thing to be match fit. Trying to get the lads used to the fitness levels of the first team is our aim."


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