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Match Reports

Match Report: Cheltenham 2-0 Walsall

31 July 2021

Walsall concluded their pre-season programme with a defeat against Sky Bet League One side Cheltenham Town.

The Saddlers were unfortunate not to be ahead at half time after creating a handful of chances and hitting the crossbar but second half goals from Matty Blair and Charlie Raglan sealed the victory for the Robins.

Matt Taylor made five changes to the team that started against Kidderminster Harriers last week with Hayden White, Ash Taylor, Stephen Ward, Liam Kinsella and Brendan Kiernan all coming into the starting XI in place of Joe Foulkes, who joined Kidderminster on loan on Friday, Zak Mills, Sam Perry, Rollin Menayese and Trialist.

The Saddlers made a bright start and had a good opportunity after two minutes when Manny Monthe wrestled back possession in his own half and hoisted the ball over the top to Conor Wilkinson who got himself in behind but didn’t quite get the connection he wanted on his shot and it was a simple stop for Owen Evens.

Walsall looked bright in the opening 20 minutes and had another decent chance on 18 minutes when Stephen Ward picked out Kieran Phillips who burst down the right and cut the ball back to Emmanuel Osadebe just outside the area. The midfielder let fly with the outside of his boot but just missed the target.

Cheltenham’s first meaningful attempt came on 21 minutes when Will Boyle’s looping header almost dropped into the net but Ash Taylor intervened and touched the ball behind.

The Saddlers had the ball in the net just after the half hour mark when Taylor headed in Osadebe’s cross but the linesman adjudged him to have come from an offside position and ruled the goal out.

Matt Taylor’s men were unfortunate not to go into the break with the lead, particularly after Kieran Phillips’ bullet header crashed against the underside of the bar after a delicious cross from Wilkinson.

The Saddlers Head Coach made one change at the break as he swapped Carl Rushworth for Jack Rose in the net.

Cheltenham improved in the second half and took the lead six minutes into the second half when Blair picked up the ball on the right, cut inside and arrowed a shot into the far corner.

It got better for the hosts as they doubled their lead on 67 minutes when substitute Charlie Raglan headed in at the near post.

Taylor reacted and introduced Jack Earing for his first outing of pre-season in place of Kiernan.

Walsall tried to get themselves back into the game and came close to pulling one back on 78 minutes when Earing did well to nod the ball back to Osadebe who rifled in a shot inside the area but Evans did brilliantly to save with his legs.

Joe Willis replaced Phillips late on but the Saddlers couldn’t find the goal despite their best efforts.


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