Friendly reverse for Saddlers despite taking lead...
WITH just seven days to go until the competitive action gets underway, The Saddlers headed for League Two outfit, Burton Albion for our penultimate first-team pre-season friendly.
It took just six minutes for Walsall to take the lead with our first raid on goal as Febian Brandy’s low free-kick from the right found its way to Will Grigg in the centre and he was able to poke home from close range.
There was a slight delay to the proceedings in the wake of the goal when a water sprinkling in one of the corners of the pitch came on. With the sun shining down on Burton, it proved to be a welcome cooler for the players.
With 12 minutes on the clock, Adam Chambers gave the ball away in midfield, which allowed Dele Adebola to break into the area, only for Andy Butler to put in a timely challenge.
Straight away at the other end, Florent Cuvelier’s effort was deflected out to Jamie Paterson on the left and his cross found the head of Will Grigg who was denied by a smart stop from the ‘keeper from close range.
A neat turn by Adi Yussuf in the 17th minute ended with him firing over for the home side.
A corner for The Saddlers caused all sorts of problems for Burton as firstly Adam Chambers’ shot was blocked and then Andy Butler’s follow-up cannoned into a crowd of players with skippers’ appeals for handball falling on deaf ears.
The home side were back on level terms when Dele Adebola used his experience well on the left and crossed for Robbie Weir who confidently fired home.
A clever turn by Richard Taundry, playing at left-back, gave him room for an effort at goal which had plenty of curl but lacked the power to trouble Ross Atkins too much.
The half-time whistle sounded with the scores locked at 1-1.
The first action of the second period saw Robbie Weir get in a long-range effort that dipped and was pushed over by James Walker for a smart save.
Heavy rain, thunder and lightning marked the early exchanges in the second half as the heavens opened.
Some neat football by The Saddlers ended with Florent Cuvelier getting in a low strike that skidded across the surface and landed inches wide.
Just past the hour-mark a foul on Febian Brandy gave Walsall a free-kick in a promising position which Cuvelier smashed into the defensive wall.
The Saddlers made five changes as James Walker, James Chambers, Dean Holden, Febian Brandy and Jamie Paterson were replaced by David Grof, Ben Purkiss, Nicky Featherstone, George Bowerman and James Baxendale respectively.
On 73 minutes, Ashley Hemmings embarked upon a positive run towards goal that ended with him dipping an effort just over.
There were four further changes on 76 minutes as Richard Taundry, Andy Butler, Will Grigg and Ashley Hemmings came off for Mal Benning, Paul Downing, Aaron Williams and Jake Jones.
After all the changes, The Saddlers fell behind on 79 minutes when substitute, Billy Kee fired home from 20 yards.
The Brewers nearly extended their lead in the next attack as Grof saved well to deny Adi Yussuf.
The game ended in a 2-1 defeat for Walsall after Aaron Williams fired over a late chance from a Florent Cuvelier cross.
WALSALL: Walker (Grof), J. Chambers (Purkiss), Taundry (Benning), Butler (Downing), Holden (Featherstone), Brandy (Bowerman), Chambers, Cuvelier, Grigg (Williams), Paterson (Baxendale), Hemmings (Jones). Subs: George, Benning, Morris.