Report and reaction from a hot afternoon at the New Windmill Ground... Smith reaction...
THE SADDLERS came from a goal behind to win 3-1 at Leamington in a game of three penalties.
On a scorching hot afternoon, neither 'keeper was tested in the opening exchanges.
It was unlucky 13th minute for The Saddlers when a neat passing move broke down and Matt Preston upended Lee Chilton to concede a penalty. Matt Dodd stepped up and found the net despite Craig MacGillivray's best efforts as he got a hand to the ball.
The equalising goal also came from the spot as Tom Bradshaw was tripped just inside the area by former Walsall youth teamer, Jamie Tank. It was Bradshaw who stepped up to slot the ball home and make it 1-1.
There were half-chances for both teams as the opening period came to a close with the scores locked at 1-1.
With nine changes at the break, The Saddlers started the second half in a lively fashion and it was no surprise when Ruiz fired home to make it 2-1 on 52 minutes.
The Spanish trialist latched onto a cross from one-time Leamington loanee, Jake Heath.
After Benning had fired wide and then Morris saw his effort pushed over, Walsall went 3-1 to the good on 82 minutes as a through-ball saw Amadou Bakayoko burst through only to be brought down by the substitute 'keeper, former Saddlers' youth teamer, Liam Maher.
It was Bakayoko himself who took the penalty and he made no mistake and that is how the scoreline stayed as Walsall recorded a first pre-season victory of the summer.
"It was certainly warm out there," said manager, Dean Smith. "The pleasing thing was that we came through it with no injuries and were able to get minutes into all of the avaialble lads, with Dean Holden getting 90 minutes under his belt.
"I was able to have a look at a few things today and whilst I felt we were slow on the ball in the opening 20 minutes or so, we managed to pick the pace up after that.
"It was nice to get a victory; we deserved the win and will take the positives out of the game and move on to the next one."
The latest on Jordan Cook is that he will have a scan on Monday now that the bruising on his ankle has gone down sufficiently. He is expected to miss the start of the season but the scan will determine the length of time he is likely to be out for.