Following Wednesday evening's friendly versus local side Rushall Olympic, Bescot Banter columnist Sam Wright shares his Match Report.
Following Wednesday evening's friendly versus local side Rushall Olympic, Bescot Banter columnist Sam Wright shared his Match Report;

We came into this preseason friendly off the back off a decent few games, including probably most impressively our 6-0 win away at Alfreton last night. Because of this win though, it meant a development side was to be named for tonight’s game, with Adam Chambers and Ben George the only players to have played for the first team before. The Walsall line-up I was given on a slightly dodgy looking team sheet was as follows:

1- Pete Smith
2- Ben George
3- Rico Henry
4- Aris Cristophorou
5- Alex Dallison
6- Jake Heath
7- Adam Chambers
8- Reece Flanagan
9- Danny Griffiths
10- Dave Smith
11- Trevor Smith

With the likes of Westleigh Rush and Liam Kinsella who have impressed so far in pre-season on the bench.

The game started quite slowly in comparison to the other friendly games we have participated in this preseason, with very few chances materialising for either side. The closest Walsall came was a twenty yard strike from D.Smith up front on trial, who looked lively, which was kept out well by the Rushall goalkeeper. He forged himself another chance shortly after, with a good turn and shot in the box once again bringing the best from the Rushall number 1.

As the half grew older Rushall managed to get themselves into the game slightly more, with a few half chance coming their way, all be it mainly from the long ball which they certainly tried out during the first period. More worrying than this for Walsall though was the fact that Adam Chambers still didn’t look 100%, we’re all hoping he will be back to his prolific best by August 3rd, but he couldn’t do anything to stop the half wearing out into a 0-0 scoreline at the break.

H/T: Rushall Olympic 0 Walsall XI 0

The second half did start in a more up beat manner, unfortunately it wasn’t at the end we would have been hoping for. ‘The Pics’ conjured up several chances early in the half, first they had a great chance saved after the defence failed to clear, followed moments later by their striker rounding the keeper only to fire into the side netting.

However the chance they would really regret missing came slightly further into the half. A triple stop, with a combination of the keepers saves and defenders blocks kept the ball from hitting the back of Walsall’s net, and we ceased the opportunities to counter attack. After a quick break away the ball fell to Danny Griffiths who struck home well from just outside the area to make it 1-0 to the Saddlers.

We would have expected this to have more or less been the catalyst to seeing Rushall give up on the game, but it was far from it. The home side really did rally after falling behind and it was plain to see how much they wanted to get something from it. They created a number of chances once again, the biggest of which resulted in the Rushall striker misjudging a ball which would have been a tap into an empty net had he read it correctly.

The Pics then had a penalty shout turned down shortly afterwards, but still didn’t let their heads drop. Just after the hour mark a ball in from the Rushall right cannoned into the legs of Walsall’s Ben George, who could do nothing to stop himself steering the ball into his own net, and with it giving the home side an equaliser that truthfully they deserved.

If that wasn't bad enough, more bad news was to come. Saddlers defender Alex Dallison went down on the halfway line after a challenge, and seemed in some pain. After several minutes of treatment it became apparent this was no minor knock, and he was carried off on a stretcher soon after. We all hope he is okay and recovers quickly, but truthfully looked in a bad way after Dean Holden and Jon Whitney carried him on the stretcher to the awaiting ambulance.

Whilst we dwelt on this, Rushall quite literally added insult to injury, bagging a second to make it 2-1. It was once again a good move from the home side, this time resulting in a ball to Bannister on the edge of the area, who quite majestically bought the ball down with his right and hit it home with his left from the edge of the area.

We’d like to say here that we went on to dominate and show our class over the non-league side, however that would be utterly untrue. The hunger of Rushall shone through and we really created little to counteract it as they went though to a 2-1 victory at the Dales.

F/T: Rushall Olympic 2 (George OG 65', Bannister 70') Walsall XI 1 (Griffiths 53')

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