Young reserve team go down to a 2-1 defeat...A YOUTHFUL Saddlers' reserve team has slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Port Vale at The Scholars Ground.
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two teams and went ahead just before the half-hour mark with a fine strike from Chris Birchall.
After Jordan Murphy was denied by The Valiants' 'keeper following good work on the left by Rico Henry, the visitors managed to double their advantage five minutes from the break as Birchall powered home another pile-driver.
There were a couple of strikes on goal by Kieron Morris either side of the break as Walsall started the second period with purpose and looked the most likely side.
We managed to pull a goal back on 53 minutes when Billy Clifford's free-kick was delivered high into the area and Kyle Rowley found the net with a towering header.
Bakayoko then went close with a header of his own whilst Murphy almost forced an own goal as we upped the pressure.
Further opportunities came and went, although Vale almost nicked one on the break when Colin Daniel went through only to be denied initially by a clock from Craig MacGillivray before Kyle Rowley was on hand to clear the follow-up in front of goal.
The game ended in a 2-1 defeat for Richard O'Kelly's side. "It was a fantastic work-out for us," he said. "It was just the sort of game that we want our young lads to be involved in.
"It was a competitive encounter against a more experienced side, but the effort and endeavour that we displayed was outstanding. We now need to add tactical and technical understanding when we are under pressure, but that will come.
"It was also good to be able to give Ben Purkiss a 45-minute run-out as he comes back from injury, whilst the likes of Billy Clifford were able to get game time as we took the opportunity to have a look at them in this kind of environment."
WALSALL: MacGillivray, Purkiss (Delaney), Henry, K. Rowley (Probert), Holden, Kinsella, Clifford, Morris, Bakayoko, Murphy, L. Rowley (Sangha). Sub not used
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS CAN BE FOUND HERE...