Saddlers into the second round of the Walsall Senior Cup...
THE SADDLERS booked our place in the second round of the Walsall Senior Cup with a resounding 3-0 victory over Boldmere St. Michaels on Tuesday night.
A Mahmoud Juma own goal set O’Kelly’s men on their way before a late quick-fire double from Amadou Bakayoko and William Shorrock secured the deserved victory.
It caps off a good week for the Saddlers who saw off Rugby Town in the Birmingham Senior cup just a week ago and went top of League One with a win over Burton Albion on Saturday.
Richard O’Kelly named a youthful side at the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground, with Matt Preston and Amadou Bakayoko providing the experience at either end of the pitch.
And it took just 4 minutes for Bakayko to produced the first real effort on goal. A visionary 30-yard pass from Jordan Sangha had the Mikes defence back peddling. Bakayoko confidently took the ball down but failed to test Butler in goal, firing over the bar.
The hosts looked rushed in possession in the opening stages whilst Sangha was dictating the play for O’Kelly’s men. The Mikes were limited to long balls forward and with the locals getting frustrated, the young Saddlers fashioned another chance on the 15 minute mark.
Preston showed composure around the halfway line to pick out Kouhyar who was fouled following some trickery and neat footwork. Bakayoko took the resulting free-kick but could only float his effort into the hands of Butler in goal.
Walsall’s early pressure was starting to tell and on the 20 minute mark found the breakthrough they dually deserved. Following a well worked move from left-to-right, the ball fell to fullback. Kory Roberts. His vicious cross to the front post was inadvertently turned into his own goal, via the upright, by Mahmoud Juma.
The home side went in search of an instant response and very nearly found it. A long ball fell to Ben Wilkinson inside the area but despite managing to get a shot away, was thwarted by the onrushing Dan Jezeph.
At the other end Bakayoko was causing real problems for the Boldmere back line, his enterprising run past three men in white ended in a fierce strike on goal. Butler done well to get a hand on it but could only palm it into the path of Kyle King who failed to get any meaningful contact on the follow-up.
The free-flowing football from O’Kellys men was starting to open up their opponents and ten minutes short of the break, the Saddlers produced the best move of the half.
Patient build up play involving five Saddlers players ended in Kouhyar finding a yard of space on the edge of the 18-yard box. After faking a shot with his right foot and sending two Boldmere defenders to the ground, the creative midfield man unleashed a left footed effort that flew just past the upright.
The referee brought an end to a first half in which Walsall completely dominated despite holding just a slender one goal-lead.
HALF TIME: Boldmere St.Michaels 0-1 Walsall
Following a dominant first half, O’Kelly will have been pleased to see his side start the second period in the same vain.
The ever-willing runner Bakayoko, kept the ball alive inside the Boldmere box before finding King whose rising effort found the car park.
The match was reduced to a midfield battle in the second period, though the hosts rarely ventured into Walsall territory until late on.
Matt Preston was replaced by Dan Vann on the hour mark with Amadou Bakayoko taking up the captain duties. And the temporary skipper was agonisingly close to latching onto a slicing Sangha through ball moments later, though the combination of Ford and Donaghey robbed him of the chance.
Both goalkeepers were spectators for a period of the second half, neither being called into a meaningful save despite a committed display from both sides.
Boldmere substitute Ross Clarke tried to change all that with an effort from the edge of the box which was turned round the post by Jezeph. Nathan Owen returned the compliment at the other end, his speculative effort dipping post the post following neat hold up play from Bakayoko.
With the clock ticking down, the game suddenly sprung into life. The lively Kyle King raced away down the right with ten minutes to go, ducked inside his defender but couldn’t beat Butler at his near post.
Then came Boldmere’s best chance of the game. Sub, Charlie Morris found a way past an otherwise solid Saddlers backline but had his effort blocked by Jezeph who narrowed the angle well.
The Saddlers, almost as if annoyed at the chance gifted to Boldmere, ruthlessly put the game to bed with a late quick-fire double.
First, Amadou Bakayoko showed blistering pace down the right, glided past two defenders and poked home under the helpless Butler.
But it was substitute, Will Shorrock who put the icing on the cake with a third with moments left of the game. Hayles-Docherty twisted and turned in the box before laying the ball off to Shorrock who showed great composure to send his marker the wrong way and the Saddlers into the second round.
STARTING XI: Jezeph, Roberts, Cockrill-Mollet, Sangha, Preston, Owen, Cela, Kouhyar, Bakayoko, King, Smith