Second Victory Of Season For Young Seasiders
Goals from Mitchell Clayton, Mark Waddington and Henry Cameron gave the young Tangerines a comfortable victory in the West Midlands.
It was Pool’s second win of the season in the Football League’s North West Youth Alliance, and the result also ended Walsall’s unbeaten start to the new campaign.
Richie Kyle’s side started strongly and fully warranted their opener – coming from Clayton’s in-swinging free-kick out on the right touchline – which beat the young Saddlers goalkeeper Richard Jones at his far post.
Walsall dominated the game after going behind, although Waddington added a crucial second goal for Blackpool after half-time, meeting substitute Luke Higham’s cross from the left with a deft first touch before finishing past Jones.
And by the time Dom Telford had teed up Cameron for a third late on, there was no way back for the home side – Northern finalists in the Youth Alliance Cup last season.
Blackpool had fallen to a first league defeat in their previous outing at Rochdale – winners of all five of their opening games – but they went straight back to work after no match last weekend.
Dion Charles made an early burst into the penalty area on the right, leaving one defender on the floor before drilling a low strike just past the far left post. Kieran Shaw then tried his luck, but was out of luck as he watched his left foot effort curl past the post.
The Saddlers’ first chance fell to Carlton McKenzie on the right of the area. The bullish winger waited to collect Alex Reid’s deep cross, but lashed the ball over Connor Hunt’s crossbar.
In the early exchanges, many tackles were flying in – Joe Moulden’s the worst on Amadou Bakayoko earning the defender a booking. But Blackpool remained measured, and took the lead soon after. Saddlers full back Rico Henry cynically brought down Cameron on the right, and from the resulting free-kick, Clayton curled a pinpoint delivery past everyone into the far corner of the goal.
Clayton’s set-pieces have caused problems for opposition all season, and his corner shortly after resulted in a goalmouth scramble before Harrison McGahey’s strike was blocked on the line.
Pool appeared to ease off after a bright start, and were fortunate not to pay the price from Wes Rush’s free-kick. The tricky midfielder saw his effort saved by Hunt, who parried straight to Reid for an open goal – the midfielder then somehow missing the target from four yards out.
Walsall’s pressure and possession couldn’t force a way through before half-time, but they came out on top once again after the break.
The Saddlers were missing a cutting edge though, and Waddington showed them the way by doubling Blackpool’s lead. The midfielder brought the ball down from Higham’s cross, before beating Jones with a cool finish at his far post.
Pool goalkeeper Hunt looked to have suffered an injury earlier on in the game – his kicking appearing a problem – but there was nothing wrong with his kick which led to the third. The long ball beat Walsall’s defence - Cameron and substitute Telford linked up – with the latter laying off Cameron for a finish from the right to all but end the contest.
West Bromwich Albion legend Cyrille Regis was in attendance at the BCFA Headquarters, no doubt in support of the Saddlers, but he will have left disappointed as Blackpool marched up the North West Youth Alliance table on a sunny afternoon in the Midlands.