PRE-SEASON | REPORT | Walsall 0 Derby County 2

On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall played host to Derby County in the latest pre-season clash ahead of the 2016/17 campaign. You can read our match report below.
On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall played host to Derby County in the latest pre-season clash ahead of the 2016/17 campaign. You can read our match report below.

The visitors got the latest of our pre-season matches underway, with over 1,200 travelling supporters in attendance to cheer them on, and it was Derby who saw the first chance of the game, a lovely touch from Ince putting him through on goal, his lifted effort beating Neil Etheridge, but was cleared off the line by an alert Joe Edwards.

Both teams looked comfortable on the ball as they sought to gain early control of the game. Nine minutes in, a corner presented County with another opportunity to take the lead; Nick Blackman's low shot from distance tested the Walsall 'keeper, who got down well to keep the scores level.

Walsall enjoyed a decent spell following Blackman's effort, and a lovely touch from Moussa found Jackson, whose back-heeled pass almost set Oztumer through on goal. Pearce intercepted and cleared the danger for the visitors.

It wasn't long before the Saddlers mounted another attack, Moussa again involved, as he sent a cross in from the left-wing that almost found Jackson. The visiting 'keeper called into action to claim the effort.

The pace cooled a little as the teams engaged in a midfield battle, with some excellent play on display from Oztumer and Jackson as the Saddlers sought to get the ball forward. The home team keeping County's attacking threat under control.

Shortly after the half hour mark, Walsall registered their first shot on target as Morris set up Oztumer, who fired the ball goal-wards from twenty yards. An easy save for Grant as the ball flew towards him, but some good play from the Saddlers.

With little under fifteen minutes of the half remaining, play was stopped as the referee signalled a water break - much needed in the humid conditions at the Banks's.

Moments after the match resumed, whatever Nigel Pearson had said to his players during the stoppage, seemed to work as Derby took the lead. A low cross from Ince towards the back post allowing Darren Bent to tap the ball in from a few yards out.

Derby enjoyed a good spell as we approached the break, with Blackman and Baird combining well on the right to create a decent chance for Tom Ince in the box. The Saddlers defence were alert and blocked the effort to keep the goal deficit to one.

County continued to press, with Bryson sending a neat ball to Blackman, whose powerful shot from the edge of the box sailed over the bar without testing Etheridge.

Blackman had another chance at goal moments later, as the ball fell kindly to him after an initial shot was blocked, he fired the ball hard towards Etheridge who claimed well.

Derby had another chance to double their advantage heading into the break, with seconds remaining before the whistle. Ince putting the ball into the back of the Walsall net, as the linesman flagged him offside. A big let off for the Saddlers.

With half-time almost upon us, Jackson tried his luck one last time with a long range effort which was easily gathered by Grant, and the teams headed back down the tunnel with Derby leading by one goal to nil.


The teams emerged after half-time with both having made several changes; Walsall replacing Dobson, Jackson and Moussa with Osbourne, Bakayoko and Kouhyar. Whilst Derby opted to make four chances, with Baird, Johnson, Russekk and Blackman making way for Christie, Butterfield, Weimann and Hughes.

Derby created the first chance of the half, five minutes in, as Tom Ince fired a left-footed effort just wide of goal. Lucky for the Saddlers as it looked to be a real stretch for Etheridge.

County continued to press, and within a few minutes, created another chance as an inviting cross from Will Hughes found Darren Bent, whose headed effort floated just over the bar. Some good play from the visiting team.

With ten minutes of the half played, Walsall created a chance of their own, Oztumer working his way through the visiting defence before Kouhyar sent a powerful effort in from distance, straight at the waiting 'keeper.

An hour into the match, the visitors opted to make another raft of changes, as they brought on Olsson, Keogh, Hendrick and Martin in place of Forsyth, Shackell, Bryson and Bent.

With sixty eight minutes on the clock, the visitors doubled their lead, as Hendrick played a lovely ball to Ince, who curled an effort into the corner, past an outstretched Etheridge.

With quarter of an hour still to play, Walsall opted to introduce fresh legs, as O'Connor and Oztumer made way for Sangha and Kory Roberts.

Shortly after the Walsall substitutions, Derby made a further change of their own as Tom Ince was replaced by Max Lowe.

With little over ten minutes of the game remaining, Saddlers captain Adam Chambers forced a break in play as he put everything on the line to block a shot from Hendrick. After a brief pause, we got back underway as his Walsall team continued to seek a way back into the game.

The final ten minutes were a relatively quiet affair, with plenty of endeavour on display but few chances coming from either side.

The Saddlers had one last chance to nab a goal of their own as we neared the full-time whistle, as Osbourne fired an effort from distance, narrowly wide of Grant's goal.

Some good play on display from the home side, plenty of encouraging signs as we head towards the new season, but beaten on the day by a strong Derby team.

GOALS | Bent 35', Ince 68'
ATTENDANCE | 2,933 (1,398 Derby County)
REFEREE | Mr. Oliver Langford
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