Saddlers share spoils with Stoke...
THE SADDLERS’ reserves have drawn 1-1 with Stoke City in a Final Third Development League Cup Group A clash after our visitors snatched a late stoppage time leveller.
The early action saw the returning Jordan Cook hit a shot on the turn that lacked the necessary power to trouble the ‘keeper.
At the other end, Craig MacGillivray did well to deny Keiran Monolouis with a smart stop.
Skipper, Amadou Bakayoko fired over before a swerving effort from the lively Monolouis was deflected onto the woodwork for The Potters.
In what was an even opening period, the last action saw some neat Walsall play end with Jake Heath flashing the ball across the face of goal, but there was no-one on hand to profit.
The second half started with Cook seeing a powerful low strike well saved before Jordan Murphy set himself up for a strike that was parried by the ‘keeper as Bakayoko put the rebound over from an offside position.
Cook was withdrawn from the action just past the hour as he came through his return from injury. Youth teamer, Luke Delaney taking his place.
There was a great goal to open the scoring when Liam Kinsella hit a sweet strike that flew home.
Matt Preston was forced out of the action shortly afterwards as Louis Probert.
Right at the death, Bakayoko had the chance to seal it when he saw his effort pushed onto the post by the ‘keeper as the visitors scrambled the rebound clear.
There was still time for Stoke to launch one more final raid in the sixth minute of stoppage time when Tomi Adeloye managed to force the ball home to level matters.
“Despite the late goal, it was an excellent display,” said reserve team boss, Dean Smith. “The attitude and enthusiasm from the lads was first-class.
“In games against Stoke, whatever level you play at, you can expect them to do things right; they’ll be in your face and work hard, it’s part of their DNA, and I felt that we acquitted ourselves extremely well.
“We went about things in the right way, our build-up play was good and we got better as the game went on.
“From the first minute to the last, Liam Kinsella worked his socks off and it was fitting that he scored a fantastic goal to give us the lead.
“Overall there were plenty of positives and it was another good test for our development group against higher level opponents. The way we go about things and our understanding is improving all of the time and that is good to see.”
WALSALL: MacGillivray, Purkiss, Henry, Preston (Probert), Holden, Kinsella, Heath, Murphy (K. Rowley), Bakayoko, Cook (Delaney). Sub not used: Roberts.