Youth team title hopes take a knock
By Andy Ashworth
Updated Sunday, 27th March 2011
The young Clarets did themselves no favours in their quest for the Youth Alliance title on Saturday morning, turning in a below par performance as Walsall hammered them 4-1.
The visitors adapted quickly and we just never got into the game. We fell behind just a touch after the ten minute mark. Walsall attacked down the left and we lost our defensive shape. The ball was cut back from the wing to a Saddlers midfielder whose shot across the goal was parried by Josh Cook, and the first to react was the opposition frontman.
Minutes later they had a 2nd goal chalked off. It's hard to see why the decision was given in our favour - either offside (from my vantage point I couldn't say either way) or a foul on the keeper (which would have been very generous in our favour).
The half hour mark came and we were forced into a change as Belgian Mehdi Lazaar left the field with an apparent groin strain. Adam Evans replaced him and his impact was stunning. Literally his first touch of the came saw him execute a crisp left foot volley from 30 yards which flew into the top corner of the net and brought us level.
It was our only chance of the half and we were lucky to break on terms as the visitors had another goal disallowed as a diving header was adjudged offside.
The second half had us reminiscing of our comeback win versus Shrewsbury two weeks previously. We began moderately brightly and had a couple of half chances with Joe Jackson and Joe McKee but they came to nothing. Jackson looked to be through on goal following a neat Ross Wilson slide-rule ball but the young striker was done at the last by a cruel bobble.
Archie Love entered the field of play in place of Taylor but it couldn't lift us. With less than 20 minutes to go Walsall took the lead once more and it came from nothing. We dallied on the ball and they dispossessed, passed round us and fired in a snap shot off the post from the edge of the area.
Soon after it was 3-1 as a right wing cross was met by an unmarked centre forward in the box who head home. Defensive uncertainty let them in for a 4th as time ran out and we truly had collapsed awfully in the final 15 minutes.
We briefly stirred as injury time approached. Wilson fired in a long range shot on the run which was acrobatically tipped over and Dave Lynch hit the bar from the resultant corner but we are left hoping that PNE did us a favour against leaders Port Vale.
Team:- Josh Cook, Curtis Woods, Neil Yadolahi, Dean Overson, Ed Williams, Dave Lynch, Joe McKee, Ross Wilson, James Taylor (Archie Love), Mehdi Lazaar (Adam Evans), Joe Jackson.
Subs not used:- Callum Jakovlevs, Steve Edwards, Aryn Williams.