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Under 18s suffer late heartache against league leaders Morecambe

26 September 2023


Under 18s suffer late heartache against league leaders Morecambe

26 September 2023

Walsall U18’s suffered defeat after conceding a penalty in the 90th minute to lose against a strong Morecambe side who maintained their 100 per cent start to the season.

The Young Saddlers scored two and were resilient throughout but fell to a late penalty, with The Shrimps winning 3-2.

Adam Fairclough opened the scoring with a finessed finish. He received the ball on the edge of the box, took a touch inside and curled the ball powerfully into the top corner. 

Just before half-time Dylan Thomas was taken out while running skilfully through the Morecambe midfield, leading to a free-kick 25-yards out and slightly off centre. Piers Juliff stepped up to the dead ball and struck it well, with it sneaking through the wall and under the goalkeeper to level the scores going into the break. 

Walsall came out ready to fight and scored in under a minute following the restart. With the roles reversed, Juliff received the ball on the right wing and spotted Thomas making a run through the middle and played him in. The captain beat the opposition defender to the ball and struck it first time into the bottom corner to take the lead. 

On 59 minutes, a scuffed clearance from Jenson Kilroy in goal led to Morecambe winning it right back in the middle of the pitch and playing it to Saul Fox-Akande who equalised. 

The Young Saddlers went on to defend strongly as a unit for an extended period of the match, leading to very few chances for either side. 

The home side held on like this up until the final minute of the 90, when Fairclough was brought down in the box and converted the resulting penalty for his second of the day.

Professional Development Phase Coach Ryan Simmonds was disappointed to lose in such a way but knows his squad can do better.

“It’s always hard to lose in the last minute,” he said.

“Losing the goal in the 60th minute and then they just had wave and wave of attacks, maybe the goal was coming, but our actions have to be better, our defensive actions have to be better, we have to have more courage to stay on the ball when they’re on top and not just kick the ball away. 

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but on the balance of the game their pressure was building and it was probably coming.”

When asked about the upcoming trip to Wrexham next week he was full of confidence. 

“We carry on doing what we’re doing. We prepare for the next game, we’ll analyse what Wrexham do, their strengths their weaknesses and we’ll come up with a game plan to try and win the game.”

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