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Match Report: Walsall u18s 4-2 Bolton Wanderers U18s

11 September 2023


Match Report: Walsall u18s 4-2 Bolton Wanderers U18s

11 September 2023

Jaiy Leydon was the star of the show with a hat-trick as Walsall U18s earned their first win of the season in the Youth Alliance Cup.

Leydon scored his fifth goal in two games and got an assist as the Young Saddlers won 4-2 in a hotly contested game against Bolton Wanderers.

The first half was quiet, with relatively few chances falling for either side. George Barrett in the Walsall goal made two good saves, one down to his left and another he tipped round the corner with his feet. The two shots were the highlights of a possession heavy first period with little action.

Just before the break, almost out of nowhere three minutes into injury time, Piers Juliff floated a cross in towards the back post and Leydon was able to sneak between two defenders and head his side into the lead. 

The Young Saddlers came out after half-time a goal up and very quickly carried on their hunger for goals, with Will Uchenna pressing high and winning the ball five minutes in. He spotted Leydon’s run, was able to slip him in and Leydon made no mistake in slotting the ball into the bottom corner for him and his side’s second of the game. 

Wanderers’ striker Daeshon Lawrence pulled a goal back on 58 minutes from eight yards out with a finish into the bottom corner. 

Walsall were quick to strike back and on 66 minutes restored their two-goal lead through Leydon. After beating a player on the left he pulled it back for Jackson Preece who made no mistake and smashed it home.

Soon after, on 72 minutes, Leydon completed his hat-trick. He miscontrolled a cross with it spinning behind him but he quickly pounced on it and struck it into the bottom corner for Walsall’s fourth of the day.

Yestin Shakespeare scored a consolation goal with fifteen minutes to play after Barrett palmed a long shot straight into his path. This led to a nervous final few minutes with Bolton having some half chances but Walsall held on to claim their first win of the 2023/24 season. 

Professional Development Phase Coach Ryan Simmonds was delighted with the result.

“I’m happy, obviously,” he said. 

“I tell them not to get too high, not to get too low. I thought the performance was brilliant. The boys from minute one until minute 100, they were fantastic, so, really happy.”

Simmonds also spoke on Leydon taking his chances as well as he did.

“A lot of the chances that he took today, it’s not a fluke. We train all week for cutbacks, for back post goals. With Jaiy it’s not a fluke, it doesn’t just happen on a Saturday,” he said.

“He’s training all week to make these moments count and he probably should have had four. I thought he was brilliant.”

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