Walsall rounded off pre-season preparations with a comfortable victory and a clean sheet away at National League side Solihull Moors.
Second half goals from Liam Gordon, Isaac Hutchinson and Ronan Maher capped off a productive afternoon’s work for the Saddlers and ensured they ended the pre-season campaign unbeaten.
The Saddlers were without Danny Johnson, who became a father earlier this week, as well as Tom Knowles and Douglas James-Taylor.
Solihull had the first chance of the afternoon when Mark Beck headed wide after getting on the end of a free-kick.
Walsall’s first sight of goal came when Chris Hussey’s free-kick found Priestley Farquharson at the back post and he hooked the ball back across to Joe Riley who hit it first time but he sliced his effort over the bar on 16 minutes.
Moments later, Gordon floated a low ball into the path of Aramide Oteh who tried to guide the ball goal wards but touched it wide.
The Saddlers ended the first half well and came close when Oteh shifted the ball onto his left foot, shot well but his attempt was parried away by Tommy Simkin.
Oteh had another opportunity when Gordon fizzed in a wicked cross which had good pace on it but he couldn’t direct the ball on target on the stretch.
Ryan Stirk came close five minutes before the break with a lovely curled strike that just whistled past the post before Gordon arrowed a shot wide as Mat Sadler’s men ended the first period on top.
Sadler made one change at half time as he introduced Freddie Draper in place of Oteh.
The Saddlers started the second half how they finished the first and almost opened the scoring two minutes after the interval when Jamille Matt held off his man and flicked the ball through to Isaac Hutchinson who burst towards goal and fired in a shot but it was straight at Simon.
Draper did brilliantly on 52 minutes as he held off his man in the box before he turned and shot quickly but Simkin was equal to it and made a smart save with his feet.
Moors grew in confidence as the second half went on and Josh Kelly looked dangerous for the hosts as he beat Priestley Farquharson before he fizzed across towards Beck but he couldn’t get anything on it.
The Saddlers continued to be in control of matters and eventually broke the deadlock on 76 minutes when Draper broke into the penalty box, cut the ball back to Gordon who directed the ball goalwards and found the net via a deflection.
Moors tried to respond but the Saddlers were organised and looked dangerous on the break.
Sadler’s men doubled their advantage a minute from time when Draper split the Solihull defence with a fantastic pass to find Hutchinson who kept his composure to pick his spot.
Walsall put the icing on the cake in stoppage time when Maher beat Simkin with a lovely drive from distance to round off a dominant display.
Evans; Riley (Foulkes 67’), Farquharson, Daniels, Hussey, Gordon (Allen 84’); Stirk (Comley 67’), McEntee (Tierney 75’), Hutchinson; Matt (Maher 81), Oteh (Draper 45’)
Subs: Smith, Williams, Onabirekhanlen
Attendance: 1034 (570 away)