Walsall 1-1 Preston
Walsall Under 18s earned a hard-fought point against Preston North End at Ray Hall Lane on Saturday.
Samim Sarvari opened the scoring for the hosts. The young forward followed up a Marvellous Onabirekhanlen header, which looped over the Preston defence. Once through, Sarvari rounded the ‘keeper before slotting the ball into the far corner from a tight angle.
The goal was evidence of an improved Miguel Llera side, quick play whilst in transition was key to the first-half success.
Walsall conjured up more chances within the first-half - but none were better than one that fell to Onabirekhanlen. His volley fizzed just wide of the post, inches away from the oncoming Ronan Maher.
After the break, Preston came out with more intensity to match the tempo set by the home side. This pinned the Young Saddlers back into their half. However, this was not a problem for Walsall. Composed play from the defence ensured there were continual options to play out to.
Unfortunately the Lilywhites’ intense pressure eventually became too much to handle. Josh Seary won the ball back within their attacking half, before driving the ball down the line and crossing, where Jacob Holland-Wilkinson rose high to head past Charlie Jew.
From this point onwards, Walsall had a newfound resilience. There was an increased threat with the side winning a flurry of corners and free-kicks.
An opportunity to drive at the defence fell to Lucas Edwards. Skipping past oncoming Preston challenges, the resulting ball was played back to Jack Lynch. His ball was disappointing though, evading all incoming Walsall players and rising over the goal.
Preston came closest to scoring the winning goal as Joe Blanchard’s last-minute header forced Jew into a low save.
In the end, both sides had to settle for a point a piece.
The Young Saddlers are next out against Blackpool on the 27th.