Young Saddlers leapfrog Tangerines after top of the table clash...Walsall showed grit, grind and a goal scoring edge as they triumphed over a previously undefeated Blackpool side on Saturday afternoon.
Another clean sheet and goals from Freemantle and Shorrock in either half ensured a 2-0 win for the young Saddlers. The win puts Neil Woods’ boys top of the North West Football League Alliance table.
The first half was a cagey affair with neither side having any real opportunity to test the keeper as it was a real midfield battle.
Blackpool defended well as Cairns had a back post volley blocked while Cockerill-Mollett also had a shot blocked from a Cela pull back.
Walsall had to wait until a minute before half time to break the deadlock but it was definitely worth the wait. A Saddlers free kick was crossed deep into the Blackpool box and Freemantle showed great strength and desire to control it with his chest and smash a half volley past the keeper despite his best efforts.
Half-time: Walsall 1-0 Blackpool
The second half was a different contest to the first as Walsall had a host of chances to extend the lead.
Around 15 minutes in and Freemantle could have added to his goal tally as he had two decent opportunities inside two minutes.
The first chance was similar to his goal as he controlled the ball, this time with his knee, and on the turn he smashed a volley towards goal but this time it went just wide. Then, the winger picked up the ball on the left hand side and cut inside and unleashed a right footed effort which went past the same post.
The goal scorer Freemantle, along with Cairns, then made way for O’Sullivan and Hayles-Docherty and the latter nearly made an immediate impact.
Left back Cockerill-Mollett fired in a low teasing ball across the box which found Hayles-Docherty at the back post but the substitute was unable to keep his effort down as he smashed the ball against the bar.
Substitute O’Sullivan then got involved as he laid the ball off to Maddocks at the edge of the area, and his powerful effort was parried by the keeper to Shorrock, who followed up to side foot home.
Blackpool then had their best chance of the game late on as Rufus latched onto a cross with an acrobatic effort which was cleared off the line.
Full-time: Walsall 2-0 Blackpool
Team: Ganley, Tonks, Cockerill-Mollett, Maddocks, Vann, Kendrick, Cairns (Hayles-Docherty 67’), Cela, Peters (85’), Shorrock, Freemantle (O’Sullivan 67’).
Subs not used: Fisher, Candlin.