Wrexham Youth 2
Walsall Youth 0
Football League Youth Alliance (North West Conference)

Wrexham Youth
2 - 0
Walsall Youth

Football League Youth Alliance (North West Conference)
Saturday, September 30th, 2023
Colliers Park
Attendance: 50
11:00am kick-off

Rio Owen (25)
Harry Ashfield (65)

Team Managers
Nick Chadwick Ryan Simmons

Starting Eleven
1. Liam Hall
2. Max Hayes
3. Tom Kelly
4. Alex Moore
5. Max Purvis
6. Dan Davies
7. Callum Edwards
8. Owen Cushion
9. Rio Owen
10. Harry Ashfield
11. Mikey Hayman
Jensen Kilroy .1
Will Etheridge .12
Kobe Wilkes .3
Cayden Bennett .4
Tom Cox .5
Malik Lawal-Olumegbon .6
Piers Juliff .10
Zak Poskitt .7
Will Uchenna .9
Dylan Thomas .8
Charlie Wragg .11

12. Harry Dean
13. Bryn Owen
14. Regan Nicholas
15. Hari Roberts
16. Keane Hazeldine
Casper Foster .13
Stan Straw .16
Charlie Joules .17
Louie Webb .14

Keane Hazeldine for Mikey Hayman (59)
Hari Roberts for Max Hayes (66)
Regan Nicholas for Callum Edwards (81)
Harry Dean for Max Purvis (81)
Louie Webb for Will Etheridge (69)
Charlie Joule for Charlie Wragg (75)
Stan Straw for Kobe Wilkes (77)

Keane Hazeldine (60)
Tom Cox (46)
Cayden Bennett (55)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Ashton Wroe (Referee)
Matty Smart & Dylan Renouf (Assistants)

Photography by David Roberts

Match Report

Wrexham made it four league wins on the bounce after beating Walsall 2-0 in the EFL Youth Alliance at Colliers Park. Victory was secured thanks to goals either side of the interval from Rio Owen and Harry Ashfield as the Young Dragons dominated the game from start to finish. Only a superb display of goalkeeping from the Saddlers’ Jenson Kilroy prevented Wrexham from recording a greater margin of victory, the young stopper denying Owen a hat-trick with a series of stunning saves.

PDP Lead Coach Nick Chadwick opted to make four changes to the team which beat Blackpool last time out, Max Hayes, Dan Davies, Harry Ashfield, and Mikey Hayman replacing Hari Roberts, Aaron James, James Rainbird and Keane Hazeldine respectively in a 4-2-3-1 formation which pressed their opponents straight from the kick-off. The high press duly nullified the visitors’ attacking threat and allowed Wrexham to dominate possession and create a host of chances.

As early as the ninth minute Kilroy was forced to make a stunning double save to keep the scores level. A fine flowing move involving Ashfield, Callum Edwards and Owen presented Hayman with a shooting opportunity, the Whiston-born striker’s effort deflecting into the path of Owen, but his two snap shots were both parried at point-blank range by the impressive Kilroy before Cayden Bennett cleared the loose ball off the line.

Three minutes later and Kilroy was again in the thick of the action saving well from the impressive Owen before Walsall mounted their first attack of note, Max Hayes producing a great sliding tackle to halt the progress of Dylan Thomas. Charlie Wragg tested Reds’ keeper Liam Hall with a long range shot but this merely proved a prelude to renewed Wrexham pressure. First Hayman saw his shot fly across the face of the goal, Owen then fired over the bar before Hayman sent a low shot inches wide of the post.

The opening goal finally arrived after 25 minutes when Edwards broke down the right wing and his low cross was met at the far post by Owen who netted from close range. Wrexham almost doubled their advantage sixty seconds later when Ashfield raced onto a poor back pass, but Kilroy raced out quickly to save the situation. There was still time for Kilroy to make one more full-length diving stop from Owen before the interval provided the visitors with a chance to regroup.

Wrexham’s territorial superiority continued in the second period with Hayes, Owen and Tom Kelly all going close before Ashfield added a second goal on 65 minutes. The attacking midfielder took full advantage of his team’s collective determination to win the ball back high up the field by rifling a 20-yard shot into the back of the net, his goal sparking joyous scenes of celebration amongst his teammates.

To their credit, Walsall refused to lie down, and Will Uchenna went close with a header before Hall produced arguably the game’s best save when he tipped a Piers Juliff free-kick round the post deep into injury-time. In between, Wrexham created a succession of goal scoring opportunities as they ran out thoroughly deserved winners with a performance of impressive maturity.

“The performance of the players is what they’ll be judged on in my eyes and once again their display today has been excellent, both individually and as a team,” reflected a delighted Nick Chadwick straight after the final whistle. “I gave them a little word of warning yesterday. Obviously, things have being going quite well in terms of results and performances, but I just felt they’d come off things a little in training, so it was pleasing that they took that message on board.

“They were all guns blazing on the press. We’d looked at Walsall and they like to play a specific way out from the back, and I thought nine times out of ten our press worked perfectly. Full credit to the lads, they listened to what we’d discussed in the week, and they carried it out in the game. Their goalkeeper (Kilroy) was man of the match. As outstanding as our players played, he was tremendous. On a different day we could have had two, three, maybe four more goals but he was just in fine form.”

Manager's Programme Notes