Saturday, 9 July 2016

@BescotBanter 3:18 pm Saturday, 9 July 2016
PRE-SEASON | REPORT | Walsall 1 Norwich City 2

PRE-SEASON | REPORT | Walsall 1 Norwich City 2

Earlier this afternoon, Jon Whitney's Saddlers took on Alex Neil's Norwich City in a behind closed doors friendly, which consisted of three thirty-minute games rather than the traditional two forty-five minute halves.
Earlier this afternoon, Jon Whitney's Saddlers took on Alex Neil's Norwich City in a behind closed doors friendly, which consisted of three thirty-minute games rather than the traditional two forty-five minute halves.

The matches, which took place at the St. George's Park National Football Centre, got underway just after 1:00pm and gave both sides the opportunity to try out a number of formations and line-ups ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

The first match saw the Saddlers tested early on as Norwich's Carlton Morris, who was being tracked by Rico Henry, broke into the area and lashed a shot wide of goal.

Morris was involved again soon after, as he found space and fired wide, this time from a Murphy cross.

Walsall trialist Jean-Pierre Nsamé saw his first attacking action of the game mid-way through the opening thirty-minute match as he broke down the left wing. His cross was cleared as Cuvelier's ball back in was gathered by John Ruddy.

Norwich opened the scoring after twenty-four minutes of play as Ryan Bennett slotted home following Murphy's spilt cross.

Summer signing Erhun Oztumer was the next Saddler to get a shot in on goal as his left-footed long distance free-kick is held by Ruddy.

As the opening period neared it's end, Nsamé almost got on the end of a dangerous Rico Henry cross, a nice attacking run from the youngster.


The second period, which would see the Saddlers substitute one team for another, got underway and saw City midfielder Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe sending a shot over the bar following van Wolfswinkel's pass.

Neil Etheridge was soon called into action as Steven Naismith was found in space and fired an effort towards goal, Walsall's first-choice stopper was alert to the danger and pushed the ball around the post.

City continued on top as Odjidja-Ofoe's cross was headed wide by Sebastien Bassong,the former Premier League side enjoying plenty of the ball.

Just before both sides made several mid-game changes, City had another shot on goal as Murphy saw an effort deflected wide.

With the teams now changed the second session got back underway and saw Walsall midfielder Jordon Sangha test new 'keeper Rudd as his long-distance effort is gathered.

Norwich's Jacob Murphy's tested Walsall stopper Craig MacGillivray as he saves well at his near post. Craig was called into action soon after as Murphy's shot was saved as City remained in the lead.

Walsall levelled the scores after fifty-six minutes of play as new-recruit Theo Vassell nodded home from Sangha's corner. The flag kick was awarded following trialist Tahvon Campbell's saved drive.

Norwich went back into the lead as the match neared the end of the second thirty-minute period. Cameron Jerome was on-hand to flick an effort over MacGillivray, former Baggies midfielder Graham Dorrans with the corner kick.


The third and final period saw plenty of play in the middle of the park as both teams continued to settle into the match.

Norwich midfielder James Maddison was the first to attempt an effort on goal but saw his goal-bound shot blocked by Walsall's on-loan Southampton defender Jason McCarthy.

Following a brief rest period, Norwich could have extended their lead as youngster Todd Cantwell broke into space and fired an effort over the Saddlers' goal.

With around ten minutes of play remaining, Walsall almost levelled the scores as Vassell saw a header deflected wide, Dobson's corner finding the defender in space, the second corner was subsequently cleared as the Canaries remained in the lead.

As the clock continued to tick down, Graham Dorrans, who recently comitted his future to City, forced a save out of MacGillivray, his powerful effort pushed away by the alert stopper.

Norwich continued to enjoy the lionshare of the attacking play as Murphy saw an effort cleared off the line by Vassell, the attacker doing well to find space in the area.


Don't forget, you can also join us across social media, we're @BescotBanter on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.