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Club News


20 July 2013

The latest action from Banks's Stadium...

THE SADDLERS stepped out on the lush Banks's Stadium surface for our first home pre-season friendly of the summer against Leeds United.

The early action  saw both sides passing the ball around and looking to make the break-through.

A raid on the left saw Mal Benning make good progress only for Paddy Kenny to claim his pull-back into the danger zone, whilst at the other end, Noel Hunt was caught offside as he broke through.

The opening goal came for Walsall on 11 minutes when former Leeds youngster, James Baxendale did well on the right and his cross was dispatched by Craig Westcarr to make it 1-0.

Some neat link-up play on the edge of the area by Westcarr and Ashley Hemmings ended with Westcarr's effort deflected just wide.

A smart save from Richard O'Donnell denies the visitors as they look to get back on level terms.

Just past the half-hour Leeds went close when Ross McCormack hit an effort goalwards only for James Chambers to clear off the line.

There were a couple of chances in quick succession for The Saddlers as firstly Ashley Hemmings tried his luck from distance but was just off target, then James Baxendale found space but by the time he got his strike in, the visitors had bodies back to block.

O'Donnell got down well to save from Paul Green in last action of the half.

The visitors started brightly a the start of the second period as Walsall defended well. After O'Donnell had blocked from Poleon, Hunt headed wide from a good position.

There was a good save from O'Donnell to deny Hunt's rasping low strike.

Trialist, James McQuilken replaced Adam Chambers in the heart of the team for the second period.

A sharp move from Walsall saw Benning feed Westcarr whose effort was saved and then Lalkovic's pull-back saw Baxendale denied by a brave block. 

The hour-mark saw a much-needed water break for both sets of players.

There were seven changes for The Saddlers on 65 minutes when J. Chambers, Holden, Downing, Featherstone, Lalkovic, Westcarr and Hemmings were replaced by Purkiss, Butler, George, Mantom, Hewitt, Morris and Sawyers.

Straight away Mantom set Sawyers through only for Paddy Kenny to deny him.

There was a chance for Ben Purkiss at the far post but he blazed over.

More changes as O'Donnell replaced by Liam Roberts, Benning replaced by youth teamer, Rico Henry and Baxendale replaced by Griffiths.

A stinging shot from distance by Mantom well saved.

At the other end, Poleon went close to levelling matters but saw his effort dip just over then Luke Murphy fired over under pressure.

In the end, The Saddlers were deserved winners by one goal to nil in another performance that contained many positives.

WALSALL: O'Donnell, J. Chambers, Benning, Holden, Downing, Featherstone, Baxendale, A. Chambers, Lalkovic, Westcarr, Hemmings. Subs: Butler, Purkiss, Hewitt, Sawyers, Mantom, George, McQuilken, Morris, Griffiths, Henry, Flanagan, Heath.

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