Turning up to the game (4th December 2020) there was a lot on the line, a Cup game Walsall FC U18s vs Burton Albion FC U18s at St Georges Park.
The Scene was set as Walsall had to win by 2 goals to go through to the next round.
With the other goalkeeper being a Pro, Sam Wollaston had never expected to be on the pitch but he had performed well in the warm up and felt confident if he was called upon. Low and behold 30 minutes in, the goalkeeper receives an injured and Sam is called upon for his first professional game ever. At St Georges Park too!
For the remainder of the first half, Sam was panicking; nervous about making a mistake and just making silly errors but luckily he didn’t concede and started to grown into the game and collect his composure (been such a big game). Half Time came around, and Sam warmed up again with the GK coach, and was making some unbelievable saves, that not even he thought he could pull off. So commencing the second half his confidence was high that he could pull deliver the goods.
So, began the second half and Sam was called into action on the 60th minute. A ball through on the angle, where the striker had a clear shot on goal and he stood tall at the ground at his near post and made an important foot save. From the subsequent corner, there is a header from 5 yards out and instinctive reaction save was just in time to push the ball away and keep the clean sheet in tact. However, 70 minutes in, they pressured to gain a corner and placed a header in the top corner which he couldn’t quite save and we had 20 minutes left to score 3. Walsall pulled one back quickly and we were back on track, and then 5 minutes later Burton got a shot off from distance and Sam managed to get down low to his right and palm the ball away out for a corner, so it was still all to play for.
Following this, Walsall tails were up and confidence grew every moment, and due to the heroics from the defensive play from the team, Walsall managed to get 2 goals late on to send them through to the next round of the cup making the game 3-1.
Sam commented afterwards, “I am so grateful to be able to have these opportunities and I thank everyone for their support too”
A true hot prospect as one to watch from the Hednesford Town Academy, and a great performance upon been asked to play for Walsall. Keep your eye on his YouTube shenanigans also, for more development and training that he and others get up to.
Keep up the great Work Sam.