Goalkeeper Hayden Evans had a debut to remember as he kept a clean sheet on his first ever senior start.
The 17-year-old stopper, a second year scholar at the Club, was given the nod for Tuesday night’s 2-0 win against Morecambe in the EFL Trophy when goals from James Wilson and Ash Hunter gave The Ammies a first win in Group B this season.
As far as debuts are concerned Evans couldn’t have dreamed for it to go any better. Composed with the ball when it came to him, he was largely untroubled as Morecambe created very little against a dominant Salford and he was pleased with his evening’s work.
“I thought it went really, really well. Really happy to keep a clean sheet and obviously get a good result. I think that everyone played really well tonight and I’m really happy that I got the opportunity to play and hopefully we can continue this good form to Saturday.
“It’s something you always dream about especially as a goalkeeper on your debut – coming out, keeping a clean sheet – so like I said really happy and really happy I got the opportunity.
“The experienced players really helped me on my debut, their leadership and guidance throughout the game really helped and playing behind them is really good. I think that me, Vac and Nick have a great relationship with the back line and I think they really helped tonight.
“Playing in the Academy last year really helped me a lot to make the jump up, as well as the 20s, and yeah it was really good to play with the first team and I really enjoyed it.
“I’m looking to play as many games as possible, keep going, keep working hard and keep working hard in training every single day and hopefully I get more minutes.”
The EFL Trophy has provided a platform for players to demonstrate their credentials to the coaching staff; Brandon Thomas-Asante made his Ammies debut in the competition last year while Tylor Golden, Alex Denny and Liam Loughlan have given good accounts of themselves.
Evans has been no stranger to the first team having been called to the bench on a number of occasions last season due to injuries to Chris Neal and Kyle Letheren, but this was his first senior appearance having featured often in the EFL Youth Alliance NW title-winning team last year.
There were a couple of other new names in the squad as Kevin Berkoe, Hayden Campbell and Sam Fielding were all named on the bench having been signed to Warren Joyce’s Development Squad last week. Fielding (above) also made his debut coming on as a substitute in the 84th minute for Wilson.
Graham Alexander was pleased to see the way the young players blended with the more experienced seniors, and added that the EFL Trophy is a good platform for introducing younger players into the fold.
“There were three or four making their first team debuts so really pleased for those guys to have a win under their belts and certainly for Hayden getting a clean sheet, I think he’ll always look back on that for the rest of his career that he kept a clean sheet on his first team debut at 17.
“We’ve maybe got a different target with this competition this season than we possibly had last season but we are blooding youngsters like we did in the last game and tonight. I think it’s important that we try to give them that game time, but they have to earn it and that’s the biggest thing for me.
“We’ll just go into our next game when it comes round trying to win the game. It’ll be a mixed up team probably but I’ll be really happy if we get a replica performance to tonight because I was so pleased to see how we played tonight.”