Walsall Reserves suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat away at Grimsby Town in the Central League on Tuesday afternoon.
Aside from first year pros Sam Perry and Joe Willis, the Saddlers team was made up of players from the Academy.
The Mariners raced into a 3-0 lead in what was a tough first half for Miguel Llera’s team.
Walsall responded well in the second half and pulled a goal back through Joe Willis five minutes into the second half.
The Saddlers pulled another goal back on the hour mark through Saif Mukadam to set up a grand stand finish to the game.
Walsall were dealt a blow when Joe Willis was forced off with an injury after the Saddlers had made all three of their substitutions.
Despite their best efforts, Walsall couldn’t find an equaliser and they were narrowly beaten.
On the performance, Academy Manager Miguel Llera said: “Two different halves. In the first half we were playing OK but we conceded sloppy goals. We were managing the game well and we spent more time in the final third but we made sloppy decisions.
“We conceded goals losing the ball playing from the back and individual mistakes but I spoke to them at half time and credit to the lads in the second half. We made two changes at half time and the team improved a lot. We were dominating before Willis went off injured after we made our substitutions. We could have scored the third, even playing with 10 men.
“We finished the game with nine because Sam Perry had a bit of cramp at the end but credit to the lads in the second half, a really good team performance."