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Development Squad

Development Squad: Walsall 1-0 Grimsby

18 April 2018

Ben Kendrick scored the only goal as the Saddlers’ Development Squad recorded a narrow 1-0 victory over Grimsby.

The Mariners enjoyed the better of the first half, registering the game’s first attempt inside two minutes when Dialling Jaiyesimi fired wide after a rapid counter-attack.

Tobias Hayles-Docherty was first to threaten for the Saddlers, flashing a cross-shot wide of goal, while a deflected Justin Shaibu effort brought a comfortable save from Ben Killip.

Simon Jackson, on loan at Grimsby from Walsall, almost put Town ahead on 17 minutes with a deflected right-footed curler which a full-stretch Brandon Ganley tipped around the post.

The home custodian made another decent stop to beat away Sam Kelly’s powerful strike as the visitors enjoyed a good spell around the half-hour.

The Saddlers went close either side of half-time, Shaibu firing over from Maz Kouhyar’s through ball and Killip turning away Jordon Sangha’s curling 20-yarder.

Back came the Mariners, with Jackson latching onto a long ball in behind before steering an angled drive wide of the far post.

Grimsby had another excellent chance to go ahead on 56 minutes as Kelly’s rasping strike was palmed up into the air by Ganley, with the loose ball scrambled clear.

Ganley was called upon again moments later, Jackson twisting and turning before hitting a near-post effort which the keeper held.

Walsall went in front on 63 minutes when a short corner was worked back to Kouhyar, whose deflected cross dropped kindly for the unmarked Kendrick to fire home from close range.

Town had chances to level, with Kelly lashing an outside-of-the-boot attempt into the side-netting and Jackson volleying straight at Ganley.

With eight minutes remaining, Jaiyesimi set Kyle Richardson away but the substitute drilled wide under pressure from Kory Roberts.

“I’m really, really pleased with the victory,” said Professional Development Coach John Ward.

“We talk to these boys about what first-team games are like and that was as close as you’re going to get to a first-team game.

“Grimsby came quite strong, with some experienced players in their ranks, and they were better than us in the first half.

“We readjusted our team a little bit and the boys rallied round really well.

“We only had Justin Shaibu in the team who had not come through the ranks, which is great credit to the youth development here at the football club.

“We are trying to push these boys and teach them what first-team football is about.

“That game was more like a first-team game than a number we get at this level.”

 

Saddlers team: Ganley, Kinsella (Mason 45'), Kendrick, K Roberts, Cockerill-Mollett, Shorrock, Flanagan, Hayles-Docherty (Peters 25'), Kouhyar, Sangha, Shaibu (Candlin 80').


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