'Pleasing performance' as Latics are beaten...
THE SADDLERS' reserve team ran out worthy 3-0 winners against Wigan Athletic.
It was Walsall who had the first opportunity in the tenth minute when a cross from the left was headed just wide by Kyle Rowley.
The opening goal eventually arrived on 16 minutes when a raid down the left ended with Jordan Murphy's cross finding Luke Delaney who found the net from close range.
It was 2-0 soon afterwards when an inviting ball in from the right found the head of Matt Preston and he made no mistake.
There was a smart save from Craig MacGillivray on the half-hour as The Latics managed to find a way through the heart of our back-line.
With The Saddlers the main aggressors for the majority of the opening period, we deservedly went into the break two goals to the good.
The second period started with Murphy denied by the visiting 'keeper as the loose ball was cleared.
At the other end, Sam Cosgrove was thwarted by MacGillivray who deflected his low strike wide.
After the busy Reece Flanagan had been denied, MacGillivray was called upon again as he managed to push a goal-bound effort over after the visitors found some space on the right-side of the area.
It was 3-0 on 67 minutes when Flanagan fed Delaney and his effort managed to find its way past the 'keeper with the aid of a bobble.
There was a flashpoint with 20 minutes to go as Flanagan pulled the shirt of Declan Poole as he looked to make progress in the middle of the park. Poole reacted angrily and appeared to kick-out at the flame-haired midfielder. It was a straight red card for Poole as Flanagan saw yellow.
A long range effort from all of 40 yards by Flanagan rattled the woodwork before he was required to clear in front of goal at the other end.
Matt Preston was booked for kicking the ball away before a late chance for Tevin Shakespeare saw him drag wide after Nathan Owen had done well in the build-up.
"It was a good team performance," said reserve team manager, Richard O'Kelly. "We were very well-organised, especially in the first half, and our understanding of when and where to pass the ball was excellent.
"We won a lot of second balls and were able to build the play, which was pleasing to see.
"I was pleased with our goals and, credit to Wigan, even when they were reduced to ten men, their young side kept trying to do the right things.
"Overall I would say it was a pleasing performance and a deserved victory."
WALSALL: MacGillivray, J. Smith, Benning, K. Rowley (Probert), Preston, Kinsella, Delaney (Kouhyar), Flanagan, Murphy, Shakespeare, L. Rowley (Owen). Sub not used: Jezeph.