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Academy

Under-18s: Walsall 1-1 Tranmere

3 September 2018

Walsall Under-18s picked up their second point of the season as they played out a 1-1 draw at home to Tranmere Rovers.

Both goals came in the second half, Alex McSkeane cancelling out Jake Burton’s strike to earn a point for the home side. 

Walsall had the better of the opening stages in a first half short of clear-cut chances.

The game was six minutes old when the Saddlers had their first chance. Tyreece Ruddock took down McSkeane’s cross but he could only direct his volley straight at Joe Bickerstaffe in the Tranmere goal.

Two minutes later there was another opening for the hosts as Jacob Walton shot wide from the edge of the penalty area after a clever move.

Tranmere almost took the lead in the 10th minute. Danny Walker-Rice was on the end of James Salkeld’s cut-back but his strike went over the bar.

The first half was then rather quiet in terms of chances after a lively first 10 minutes. Ruddock had the last chance before the break as he scuffed an effort straight at Bickerstaffe.

Tranmere took the lead in the 47th minute when Burton calmly slotted the ball past Josh Griffiths to open the scoring.

The away side came close to doubling their advantage in the 54th minute. Nick Long’s deflected header produced a decent save from Griffiths.

Joe Brown had a chance for the Saddlers just after an hour but his goalbound header was comfortably saved by Bickerstaffe.

Walsall equalised in the 67th minute when McSkeane knocked the ball into the bottom corner from close range after a flowing team move. 

Tranmere’s defence was opened when substitute Sam Perry linked well up with McSkeane. However, the latter could only direct his shot straight at the goalkeeper. 

The hosts almost won it right at the death. McSkeane flicked on a corner which landed at Perry who saw his effort go over the bar. 

Saddlers manager Graham Biggs was impressed with his team’s performance, commenting: “I’m very pleased with the performance.

"We pretty much dominated the game after going behind. We got the equaliser and were unlucky not to go on and get the winner.

"The way we are trying to play is the right way. Creating chances like that, we will go on and beat a team by a considerable amount of goals if we can go on and convert them.”

Biggs, though, felt Lady Luck wasn't on his team's side.

“I hate to say it but we’re just not having the rub of the green," he added.

"The hardest thing in any game of football is to score a goal but we are creating so many chances; just to score the one goal is disappointing.

We’ll work on playing in and around the final third to see if we can change that but performance-wise I think it was outstanding.”


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