Second-string slip to Shrimps...
THE SADDLERS' reserve team slipped to a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Morecambe on a sunny afternoon at The Scholars Ground.
Sam Mantom made a long-awaited return to action and was joined in the team by Alex Jones, a trialist from West Bromwich Albion.
Our visitors made their intentions clear from the first whistle as they launched a raid before a strike from Paul Mullin rattled the top of the crossbar.
There was a long delay as Morecambe's Nathan Bondswell received lengthy treatment before being stretchered from the field.
Chances were at a distinct premium at either end as the half went on. The first real effort for The Saddlers came from Jordan Murphy whose effort was kept out by the 'keeper before the loose ball was cleared as Alex Jones looked to profit.
After Jake Heath had seen an effort loop over, the visitors managed to get their noses in front right on the stroke of half-time when Aaron McGowan's cross from the right was headed home by Alex Kenyon.
It was to be the last action of the half, but The Saddlers came out for the second period in determined mood and an early chance saw Jones denied by the 'keeper before the resulting corner found its way to Mantom whose strike was deflected just over.
Some neat build-up play that was instigated by Mantom, ended with Murphy's low strike hitting the base of the post as we started to get into our stride.
Mantom was replaced on 65 minutes as Nathan Owen took his place.
Some good work from Aaron Pomeyie saw his inviting ball across the face of goal cause problems as Mullin's effort was blocked in front of goal by Kyle Rowley.
The visitors were able to double their advantage with a quarter-of-an-hour to go when substitute, Josh Bowden slotted the ball home.
As the clock ticked down, Craig MacGillivray was alert to deny Mullin.
A late change saw Levi Rowley replace Luke Delaney as the game ended in a 2-0 defeat for Walsall.
"Apart from the opening 20 minutes, we did well," said reserve team manager, Richard O'Kelly. "Our application, attitude and the way that we attempted to play the game was very good.
"I was pleased with some of our build-up play on a bobbly surface against competitive opponents.
"The likes of Alex Jones and Jordan Murphy showed a real desire to get into goalscoring positions, whilst it was a good game for Sam Mantom to come back into and it was good to get over an hour of game time into him.
"Overall I felt that we competed well, the only thing wrong was the scoreline."
WALSALL: MacGillivray, Kinsella, Probert, K. Rowley, Preston, Delaney (L. Rowley 85), Murphy, Mantom (Owen 65), Jones, Heath, Bakayoko. Subs not used: Roberts, Jezeph.