REPORT: Luton Town 0 Walsall 1 REPORT: Luton Town 0 Walsall 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

REPORT: Luton Town 0 Walsall 1

Earlier today, Walsall Football Club travelled to Kenilworth Road to take on Sky Bet League 2 outfit Luton Town in the Saddlers' final pre-season friendly ahead of the 2015/16 campaign. You can read our match report below.
Earlier today, Walsall Football Club travelled to Kenilworth Road to take on Sky Bet League 2 outfit Luton Town in the Saddlers' final pre-season friendly ahead of the 2015/16 campaign. You can read our match report below.

It was the Saddlers that got the game under-way. Young central defender Matt Preston was called into action early on as he cut out the ball with a no-nonsense clearance.

The fit-again duo of Tom Bradshaw and Sam Mantom looked to combine but a defender was able to make a clearance ahead of the midfield man.

Walsall were able to take the lead very soon after. A long ball was played in over the top, Bradshaw was able to beat the trap, cut inside his marker, and drill the ball home at the front post.

Luton had a chance to get back on level terms very soon after the goal, the ball was cut back to the on-rushing McGeehan, but he could only lift the ball over the bar from around eight yards.

With about eleven minutes on the clock Tom Bradshaw and Jordan Cook, who were playing as a front two, tried to combine, with Cook flicking the ball on to Bradshaw, however the offside flag went up as the Hatters defence worked well.

After eighteen minutes Rico Henry did well to find Kieron Morris on the edge of the opposition area, however Kieron was felled by his marker and a free-kick was awarded.

After a brief discussion, Sam Mantom left the ball for Cook who could only send the ball over the bar, as the Saddlers failed to make use of a good chance to stretch their lead.

Walsall's Jason Demetriou was alert to the danger as Craig Mackail-Smith, who had been unveiled ahead of kick-off, looked to send a low cross into the box.

Neil Etheridge was called into action as Luton's Pelly Mpanzu beat his marker and burst into the box, the Saddlers stopper doing well to quell the attack.

At the other end, following a good pass from Kieron Morris, Jason Demetriou unleashed an uncontrolled effort at goal, the 'keeper not needing to move from his position as the ball curled towards the corner flag.

Etheridge was again alert to danger as Mpanzu looked to play in an advanced O'Donnell, the Walsall 'keeper clearing after the player had demonstrated good chest control.

Luton continued to enjoy a good spell as Danny Green sought-out Benson with a cross-field ball, possibly a little too much on the pass as a goal kick was awarded.

Mackail-Smith was denied as Neil Etheridge came out to meet him as he broke down the left wing, the ball departing the stadium as the stopper ensured an end to the attack.

Walsall's Matt Preston and Rico Henry looked to combine down the wing as Rico sent in a cross, the ball was cleared as far as Demetriou, but his ball in was headed away by McNulty.

At the other end Green and Benson combined again, the latter's cross was acrobatically saved by Etheridge as he sought to keep his sheet clean. The resulting corner, which was worked into the box, was punched clear as the home side looked to get their opening goal.

As the break edged closer, Mackail-Smith forced a corner, his side failed to make use of it as the flag kick, which was taken by Danny Green, went out for a Walsall throw.


Walsall made two defensive changes at the break, with Rico Henry and trialist Adrian Pazo being replaced by Andy Taylor and James O'Connor.

The hosts got the second-half underway, but it was the Saddlers that had the opening chance.

Substitute Andy Taylor found himself in space out wide and drilled a shot past goal, a bit of a tight angle for the left-sided defender.

Luton won the first corner of the half as a dangerous Green cross was cleared. The corner came to nothing as Walsall cleared.

Saddlers captain Adam Chambers had a speculative effort saved by Tyler, not the most powerful shot the 'keeper will have ever handled, but good to see the veteran having efforts on goal.

Neil Etheridge did well to save from O'Donnell following good play between he and Green, the pairing looking good for the home side.

Walsall continued to seek a second goal as both Jordan Cook and Jason Demetriou attempted long shot's on goal, Tyler was alert on both occasions.

Defender Matt Preston, who is developing something of a cult following among Saddlers fans, was guilty of a foul on the Hatter's latest acquisition Craig Mackail-Smith, and a free kick was awarded. Following a dummy from Potts, the kick was taken by Danny Green, but he sent it over the bar, no test for Neil Etheridge.

At the other end, Jason Demetriou did well to weave his way into the Luton box and cut the ball back for a mobile Kieron Morris, but the wing-man saw his shot well saved by Tyler, a good move from the Saddlers.

Soon after, a low Andy Taylor cross was sent over the bar by a nervous Hatters defender, a good spell for the Saddlers.

The resulting corner saw an Adam Chambers effort cleared off the line by the home defence, the captain again involved in some attacking play.

Luton Town then made several changes, with Smith, Griffiths, McCourt, Wilkinson, and Lee coming on for Potts, McGeehan, Doyle, Ruddock-Mpanzu and Green.

Soon after, Walsall also opted for some fresh legs, as Tom Bradshaw and Kieron Morris were replaced by Romaine Sawyers and Milan Lalkovic.

Sam Mantom saw an effort, that looked to be going wide, tapped home by Jordan Cook, but the goal was ruled out as Cook was offside during the build-up.

Following the non-goal, Dean Smith made another change as Jason Demetriou was replaced by Anthony Forde.

Luton's Craig Mackail-Smith did well to rob Matt Preston of the ball inside the box and send a powerful shot at Etheridge's goal, the 'keeper was equal to it and tipped the ball over the bar. The resulting corner was once again cleared.

Mackail-Smith continued to be involved as his cross found Wilkinson in a dangerous position, the substitute could only head over the bar as the Saddlers defence looked to tighten up.

With under twenty minutes of the game remaining, Luton Town made another change as Stephen O'Donnell was replaced by Ryan Hall.

Walsall made a couple more changes with Adam Chambers and Jordan Cook coming off for Reece Flanagan and James Baxendale.

Luton's McCourt and Benson looked to combine but the latter was caught offside, a few tired legs out there as time ticked away.

The fourth-official was once again called into action as Walsall's Matt Preston, who had continued to add to his highlight reel of uncompromising tackles, made way for fellow Centre of Excellence graduate Liam Kinsella.

As the attendance was revealed, McNulty was replaced by Okuonghae for the hosts.

Substitute Hall had a low, driven effort saved, the home side being forced to shoot from further out as the Saddlers sat in at the back.

Soon after, Calvin Zola and Jack Marriott replaced Craig Mackail-Smith and Paul Benson, the changes continuing at a pace.

Neil Etheridge came out to dispossess home substitute Marriott, who had been fed through by former Birmingham City man Olly Lee, the Saddlers stopper still alert in the late goings.

As the Hatters voted Craig Mackail-Smith as their man of the match, the game had lost much of it's impetus, with the number of changes taking it's toll.

ATT: 2,189 (149 Walsall)
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