Following this evening's return to football, columnist Sam Wright shares his Match Report;
Following this evening's return to football, columnist Sam Wright shares his Match Report;

Before I start I would just like to say, no matter what the game is, it’s great to be back at the football for the beginning of the build up to what I’m sure will be another exciting season. That said, on paper this wasn't the most attractive of games, in fact it couldn't really have sounded more unattractive; An away game at The Old Bush Ground, on a chilly Wednesday night, with the first team, and coaching staff all over in Trinidad.

Still, I got there in high hopes, despite having no programme or tannoy announcement to indicate players names to number (Expect some use of numbers and positions in the article) and roll on roll off subs to make my job even more difficult. Fortunately though, the game soon took minds off this, and it proved to be an exciting encounter between the two sides.

A number of fans in attendance. © Twitter/Sam Wright
Walsall soon found their feet on what I can honestly say is one of the biggest sloping pitches I have ever seen. The Saddlers, kicking downhill first half, impressed early on, stringing together some nice passing moves, all be it without really creating anything that can truthfully be called a chance. You could see we got slightly frustrated as the first 45 wore on, and it can be blamed on this or the poor state of the pitch, but we began to play long balls up towards our tall, loan striker. This once again though, brought no success.

As Pelsall began to get into the game them self, with poor defending allowing few tough chances for their front men, Walsall decided to rethink tactics, and bought the wide men into the game. This ultimately lead to the first goal. Good play down the wing won us a corner on the left hand side. The ball was played short to our number 10, playing in the ‘James Baxendale Role’ of attacking midfield, and he casually knocked it round his man and fired home hard into the near post from 20 yards. 1-0 Walsall.

This seemed to take the pressure of our shoulders, although it was a pre season friendly the players knew there were places up for grabs after the three departures over the last week. This was summed up beautifully as Pelsall’s best chance was cleared of the line of an open goal by out holding midfielder, who I must say played excellently.  However that Pelsall chance proved to be short lived, as the saddler used their wide men to make it 2-0 shortly after. The left midfielder, Westleigh Rush,  finding himself in acres of space after a great ball from across the field, he calmly rounded the keeper and slotted home expertly, and it looked as if we were cruising to an easy win.

The home side though did throw a spanner in the works as half time approached. Two bad mistakes from the central defender, number 6, meant that the Saddlers goalkeeper had to pull off two great saves. This wasn’t enough though, and after our left fullback was beaten for pace by the Pelsall winger minutes later, he could do nothing but stand and watch as he drove the ball powerfully into the top of the net. 2-1 just before the break, and that infact was how it stayed until halftime.

H/T: Pelsall Villa 1 Walsall XI 2

Without sounding negative, the second half somewhat failed to live up to the excitement of the first half. Despite Walsall bringing on two new wingers to accompany a new striker, the physicality of the first half had somewhat ensured a tired second period. The Saddlers wingers worked hard again, very pleasing to see after departures in recent times leaving a gaping hole there, but no clear cut chances came.

However as the half wore on we did manage to ensure that Pelsall wouldn’t be staging a comeback, a terrific run saw our left wide man, break into the box and pull the Pelsall centre half into what was quite an horrific challenge, it certainly sent some gasps round the 200 or so people inside the Pelsall ground tonight. The holding midfielder mentioned earlier in the article took it, and made it 3-1 despite the keeper getting a foot to it. This more or less ended the contest, and from there we strolled out to an easy win.

F/T:: Pelsall Villa 1 Walsall XI 3

The most pleasing thing to see today at this game was really the passion the players showed, knowing places were up for grabs. With a striker and a winger scoring, who is to say we don’t have enough to fill the holes left by the departures of the likes of Grigg. Also, I was very impressed with the performances from the holding and attacking midfielders. As they were set up in the similar 4-2-3-1 formation to the first team, it was easy to see them being at least sold back up for the likes of Adam Chambers or James Baxendale.  Overall although this is one friendly, meaningless in many ways considering the circumstances, its always nice to see players hungry to win, no matter who the opponent is. Well done boys.

Finally just to congratulate Pelsall, they really did fight today, some crunching challenges went in first half, and they looked a well organised side. Good luck to them in their league next season.

By: Sam Wright
You can keep up to date with all the latest Walsall FC news across our social media channels, we're on 𝕏, Facebook, Threads, and Instagram. We also offer updates via Google News.
If you appreciate our coverage, please consider buying us a coffee via Ko-fi. You can also sign up to make regular contributions via Patreon.
Previous Post Next Post