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SADDLERS STALEMATE

13 April 2015

Youngsters share the spoils with Wrexham...

THE SADDLERS' youth team were held to a 0-0 draw by Wrexham in their final Football League Youth Alliance North-West Division home game of the season at Ray Hall Lane on Saturday.

But the match itself was overshadowed by two injuries, one picked up by Saddlers’ top goal scorer, Levi Rowley, and the other picked up on the final whistle by a visiting youngster.

Despite being far from their fluent best, the hosts created several chances during the match, but were let down by wasteful finishing at times.

Just 10 minutes in, Levi Rowley closed the goalkeeper down forcing the ball to fall kindly for Nathan Owen, but he hammered his shot over the crossbar.

But Rowley’s efforts were costly as he seemed to injure his knee in the process. The 14-goal striker had to be replaced by Brendan Pooni.

Jamie Smith’s fine delivery was met by Lewis Probert, who was up from the back, but he could only guide his header over the bar.

Maziar Kouhyar was next to try his luck, the midfielder showed excellent skill on the edge of the box before unleashing a left-footed drive. Unfortunately Wrexham’s goalkeeper was equal to the strike.

The best moment of the first-half came from an unlikely source. Defender Probert danced past two Dragons’ players before firing a shot towards the top corner. With the ‘keeper beaten, it was left to the crossbar to come to the visitors’ rescue to ensure that it remained goalless at the break.

Rory Oliver was introduced at the interval in place of Luke Delaney as The Saddlers searched for the all-important first goal.

Kouhyar’s corner was met by a glancing header from Raekwan Smith, but the ball dropped agonisingly wide of the far post.

Kouhyar was becoming the visitors’ chief tormentor. Pooni was next to benefit from the midfielder’s good play, but he could only lift over from eight yards.

Set-pieces were looking the most likely route for The Saddlers, and when Kouhyar’s latest delivery was knocked down into the path of Raekwan Smith, you sensed the net was going to bulge. But the defender spurned the opportunity.

The Saddlers handed a debut to Sam Tonks with 10 minutes remaining, he came on in place of Owen.

The Saddlers continued to plug away into the dying embers of the game, Tonks ran down the right flank before pulling back for the unmarked Jordon Sangha. But the midfielder, not known for his goal scoring prowess, could only fire over from inside the box.

But in truth, the match was overshadowed by a nasty-looking injury to a Wrexham youngster. The defender suffered a suspected broken leg as he landed awkwardly after jumping for a header, we wish him a speedy recovery.

Neil Woods’ side face Shrewsbury Town twice in the next seven days. They will meet on Tuesday in the last League match of the season before meeting again next Monday at Banks’s Stadium, in the Midland Youth Cup final (kick-off 7.00pm).

WALSALL: Jezeph, J. Smith, Probert, Sangha, K. Rowley, R. Smith, Kouhyar, Delaney (Oliver), Shakespeare, L. Rowley (Pooni), Owen (Tonks). Subs not used: Caswell, Roberts.


By ALEX DICKEN

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