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SECOND-STRING SLIP

4 February 2013

Defeat for reserves...

THE SADDLERS' second-string slipped to a 2-0 home defeat to Bury at a decidedly chilly Birmingham County FA Ground.

It was the visitors who came out of the blocks brighter without seriously testing David Grof in the Walsall goal.

We gradually started to get into the game and Cameron Belford in the visitors' goal denied both George Bowerman and Ashley Hemmings whose deft header was pushed over.

The next action saw Hemmings skip past a couple of challenges before seeing his effort dip just over the crossbar.

With The Saddlers looking the most likely side, Connor Taylor found Craig Westcarr who controlled the ball well before lifting his effort over from a tight angle.

There was a good chance for Bowerman who managed to break through and rounded the advancing 'keeper only for a defender to get back to clear in front of goal.

After Westcarr was denied by a block from Belford, Hemmings saw his strike deflected wide as the half ended with Walsall seeing more of the ball but not able to convert our possession into goals.

The second period got under way with a free-kick from Hemmings deflected wide.

But The Shakers got a foot-hold into proceedings and  Tom Hopper headed over from a good position at the far post following an inviting cross.

Just past the hour-mark, Hopper was felled inside the area and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. The experienced David Healy stepped up and coolly slotted past Grof.

The Saddlers looked to get back into the game straight away as a free-kick from Malvind Benning was pushed out by Belford who then thwarted Bowerman.

The game was sealed for Bury with six minutes left on the clock as Hopper found Craig Jones who was able to guide the ball home.

There were a couple of late changes for Walsall as James Chambers and the lively Hemmings were replaced by youngsters Matt Preston - who signed his first professional contract last week - and Jake Heath respectively.

In the end, we were left to reflect upon a 2-0 reverse.

WALSALL: Grof, George, Benning, Featherstone, J. Chambers (Preston), Holden, C. Taylor, Morris, Westcarr, Bowerman, Hemmings (Heath). Subs: A. Williams, Flanagan, Roberts.

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