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Match Report: Saddlers victorious in behind closed friendly against West Bromwich Albion U21s

25 July 2023

West Bromwich Albion U21s 0-2 Walsall

Walsall continued their preparations for the new campaign with a victory over West Bromwich Albion Under 21s in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

Douglas James-Taylor and Freddie Draper netted first half goals for the Saddlers who ran out comfortable winners on a productive outing.

The Saddlers start well and almost immediately took the lead when Draper closed down the goalkeeper, blocked his kick and the ball almost trickled into the net.

Mat Sadler’s men enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first half and took the lead on 24 minutes when Taylor Allen’s volley was blocked and after a bit of pinball in the box, the ball fell to James-Taylor who arrowed it into the bottom corner.

Walsall doubled their advantage eight minutes later when Aramide Oteh switched the ball out wide to Joe Foulkes who crossed first time and Draper arrived at the back post to apply the finish.

Ryan Stirk came close to making it three moments later but his low drive was pushed away by the goalkeeper.

Sadler made a number of changes for the second half which saw the academy’s Dylan Thomas and Piers Juliff feature.

Allen, playing in a left centre-back role, made an excellent run early in the second half as his skipped his way through the Albion defence and was one-v-one but his effort was blocked by the goalkeeper.

Ronan Maher also came close in the second half as his fierce drive was tipped behind.

The Baggies had a couple of late opportunities but the Saddlers held firm and emerged victorious.

First half team: Smith, Foulkes, Trialist, Williams, Allen, Oteh, Stirk, McEntee, Tierney, Draper, James-Taylor

Second half team: Smith, Foulkes, Williams, Trialist, Allen, Thomas, Riley, Comley, Maher, Onabirekhanlen, Draper (Juliff)

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