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Walsall Under 18s earn first league win

31 October 2022


Walsall Under 18s earn first league win

31 October 2022

Walsall Under 18s picked up their first league win of the campaign as goals from Antonio Cristofaro and Marvellous Onabirekhanlen helped the Saddlers to victory against Morecambe.

Just 12 minutes in, Cristofaro latched onto a pass gone wrong on the halfway line and opened the scoring with a powerful strike from 25 yards into the net.

Onabirekhanlen was able to double his side’s lead just three minutes before half-time when a Morecambe corner was cleared and landed at his feet. The striker still had a lot to do and did it exceptionally well, using his pace and power to hold off the Morecambe defence snapping at his heels before hitting a well-placed shot into the bottom corner, giving the visiting keeper no chance.

Mani Davidson sent alarm bells ringing in the Walsall defence after he skipped past three defenders and was eventually brought down in the box, winning a penalty for his side. Goalkeeper Jenson Kilroy stepped up and saved his team with a strong save down to his right. 

The away side did pull a goal back through centre back Leyton Holden, who headed the ball past Kilroy from a corner, which led to a nervy final 15 minutes but the Saddlers held on to claim all three points.

Professional Development Phase Coach Ben King was pleased with the resilience his team showed and felt a performance like that had been on the cards.

“I think it has been coming,” King said.

“We spoke last week about consistency being one of our biggest things. We did it against Huddersfield and Shrewsbury. All the other games we’ve had a good half, whether its first or second.

“It’s really nice that they’ve competed throughout the whole game, they stayed switched on.

“Obviously going 2-0 up early on but then also second half conceding one, when last season we would’ve probably folded, so it’s nice that we’ve held onto that this game. 

“Going forwards is something we talk about in the academy as a whole. It's part of our syllabus, we want to be very progressive on the ball, we want to run forwards and play forwards.”

The Young Saddlers are away to Grimsby Town in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday, and confidence is high thanks to their first three points of the season.

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