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Under 18s suffer narrow home defeat to Blackpool

17 April 2024


Under 18s suffer narrow home defeat to Blackpool

17 April 2024

Walsall U18s 1-2 Blackpool U18s

Despite a full-hearted effort in the late stages of the game, the damage was done in the first half an hour as Walsall succumbed to a 2-1 defeat in their penultimate home game.

Blackpool started the game in the best way possible. Following a short free-kick, they applied pressure on the Walsall penalty area.

With the home side unable to clear the ball, Blackpool left back Charlie Cox found Lennon Scholes who headed them into an early lead.

15 minutes in Walsall settled into the game, creating their own chance as Jackson Preece's cross flashed across the face if goal.

After a stop in play for a Jenson Kilroy injury, Walsall saw themselves fall further behind after Terry Bondo tapped in a parried save from Kilroy.

The Saddlers got themselves straight back into the game through Charlie Wragg who finished well in the box from a Cailen Beckford cross in from the right.

The home side had a great opportunity to draw level five minutes from half time.

Forward play with intent saw Beckford, Wragg and Jackson Preece work an opportunity at the edge of the area.

With Preece readying to shoot, the away defence were able to recover in time and scramble the ball away.

In the last passage of play of the half, Blackpool came very close to extending their lead back to two but defiant work and a strong save with his body, Kilroy denied the travellers.

10 minutes into the second half, Kilroy once again spread himself well to keep the score at 2-1 with a save at point blank range with his chest.

The home side were almost the reason for their own demise as Marley Roberts blindly played the ball across the box. Pool striker Scholes saw his shot skim the top of the crossbar.

With less than 15 minutes to go, very few chances had come to either side in the second half as Walsall pushed for a chance to equalise and Blackpool coming close on a couple occasions to all but confirming the three points.

With five minutes left, The Saddlers had a golden chance to draw the scores level as Roberts found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, only for his shot to be well saved.

The final few minutes consisted of Professional Development Phase Coach Ryan Simmonds trying his best to push his side to an equaliser from the touchline but to no avail.

Simmonds felt it was an even contest on reflection but felt a lack of concentration early in the game proved costly.

“It only takes a second to score a goal, and if that’s in the first minute or the 17th minute, but when it’s really early it’s a lack of concentration or a lack of awareness of the game,” he said.

“All that happened was the boys didn’t clear the ball and they are young, so they don’t understand that to kick it 60 yards away from goal isn’t always a bad thing but it just allows us to get our shape back.

“After conceding again we got back into the game and on reflection I think it was an even game, where they have 2nd years on the pitch and half our squad are U16s and one U15.”

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