YOUNG Michael Collins caught the eye despite Town Reserves suffering a 1-0 defeat to Walsall at the Bescot Stadium yesterday.

Just back from helping the Republic of Ireland's Under 18 side win a tournament in Portugal, Collins was the pick in midfield and went as close as anyone to putting John Dungworth's young side on the scoresheet in the Pontin's Premier Division clash.

Watched by former Town players Phil Robinson (Stafford Rangers) and John Whitney, who is with Walsall, the Halifax-based player unleashed a 35-yard volley which Dean Coleman did well to beat away.

That was after only nine minutes and it suggested Town might put last week's defeat at Tranmere firmly behind them, but it wasn't to be.

A single defensive lapse after 42 minutes, when a corner by Daryl Taylor eluded both Collins and James Hand at the near post, allowed Taiwo Atieno to touch the ball home from close range.

Atieno had previously gone close with a header while, at the other end, Hand produced a tremendous cross to find Joe Shaw, whose back-post header dropped agonisingly over the angle.

Cheltenham manager John Ward and ex-Notts County chief Billy Dearden were in the stand to see Matt Young test Walsall with a header in a positive opening to the second half, but Town were fortunate to escape when substitute Mario Lopez Soler drove the ball across an unguarded goal and Taylor failed to get a touch.

Hand broke clear for the chance of an equaliser eight minutes from time only to fire into the side netting.

Town: Giles (Draper, HT), Walls, Hand, Mattis (Walsh, 80), McCombe, Hardy, Thompson, Young, Shaw, Collins, Sheridan (Huxall HT).