Goals from Luke Leahy and Mitch Candlin gave the Saddlers a 2-1 victory at National League side Chester in their latest pre-season friendly
The Saddlers went with a strong line-up for the trip to the Swanways Chester Stadium, albeit with one or two changes from the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa last Tuesday.
Maz Kouhyar came into the starting line-up on the right flank for Kieron Morris who dropped to the bench, as did striker Amadou Bakayoko with Simeon Jackson partnering Erhun Oztumer in attack.
The back four saw one change, with Liam Kinsella starting at right-back ahead of Nicky Devlin alongside centre-halves Jon Guthrie and James Wilson, with Leahy slotting in again at left-back.
Reece Flanagan partnered captain Adam Chambers in midfield, with Kouhyar and Joe Edwards on the flanks.
Liam Roberts - who spent last season on loan at the Swanways Chester Stadium - played the full 90 minutes in goal for the Saddlers.
The Saddlers saw most of the ball in the first half, playing around defence and midfield neatly and getting into promising positions in the final third.
Kouhyar stung the palms of Chester’s trialist keeper after just three minutes as he set about causing problems down the right throughout the game.
But chances would be at a premium from there until 21 minutes in when, having seen the Canadian striker get goal-side of him, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner caught Jackson in the box for a penalty.
But Jackson’s penalty, low and to the keeper’s right, would be saved by the outstretched right hand of Chester’s stopper.
The Saddlers would only have to wait five minutes to take the lead, however. An in-swinging corner from Edwards caused problems for Chester’s back-line and as the ball zipped around the box, LEAHY reacted quickest to turn the ball home from close range.
Oztumer and Jackson both saw chances denied as the first half wore on - the first by an offside flag and the latter from a fine defensive block by Rowe-Turner - and the Saddlers went into the break 1-0 ahead.
Chester made three substitutions at half-time and one of those would restore parity for the hosts.
Getting in behind the offside trap from a neat, long ball forward, BELL lashed a powerful volley at goal from 18 yards that beat Roberts for power.
Kouhyar had a great chance to shoot with 15 minutes to play but slipped in the very wet conditions at the vital moment following a lovely through ball from Flanagan.
And with just under 10 minutes to play, the Saddlers took the lead again through CANDLIN - his first touch since being introduced for Jackson moments prior proving too much for Chester’s second trialist keeper.
Again from a corner, Walsall caused problems and when Morris’s deflected shot looped into the air, it was too inviting an opportunity for Candlin, who wrapped his leg around the ball and finished well from inside the box.
The Saddlers’ pre-season preparations continue this week with a home friendly against Premier League side West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night - make sure to get your ticket!
SADDLERS: L Roberts; Kinsella (Devlin 73’), Guthrie, Wilson, Leahy (Cockerill-Mollett 73’), Kouhyar (Hayles-Docherty 83’), Chambers (Sangha 83’), Flanagan, Edwards (Morris 64’), Oztumer (Bakayoko 73’), Jackson (Candlin 79’).