YOUTH ALLIANCE | Walsall 2 Shrewsbury Town 0

Walsall's Under 18s were back in action on Saturday morning as they played host to Shrewsbury Town Under 18s in the final EFL Youth Alliance (North West) fixture of the season.
Walsall's Under 18s were back in action on Saturday morning as they played host to Shrewsbury Town Under 18s in the final EFL Youth Alliance (North West) fixture of the season.

Ganley; Little, Fisher, Friel, Kendrick, Leak, Hayles-Docherty, Mason, Cairns, Candlin, O'Sullivan

SUBS | Dawe; Freemantle, Massamba, Leivesley, Willis
Atkinson; Sears, Roberts, Hughes, Shelis, Taylor, Gilpin, Gallagher, Higgs, Barnett, McAtee

SUBS | Davies, Burton, Lovett, Mwandwe, Ofori

Ahead of kick-off the young Saddlers, who are managed by Head of Youth Graham Biggs, had won seventeen of their twenty-seven fixtures and could have secured a second-place with a win, so long as Burnley failed to defeat Accrington Stanley.

Biggs' side were fourth in the Alliance, well clear of fifth-placed Port Vale, and just four points below league leaders Blackpool, who were also hoping for a Burnley slip-up as they looked to secure the title.

The young Saddlers started today's game well,and could've scored in the early going as a Dan O'Sullivan cross nearly found it's way into the back of the net following a deflection off Shrews defender Christos Shelis, luckily for the visitors the ball inched past the post.

O'Sullivan was involved in that action again ten minutes later as he received the ball from Mitchel Candlin and sent an effort towards goal. The shot was not enough to beat Jack Atkinson in the Shrews goal as he gathered the ball at the first time of asking.

Walsall opened the scoring after twenty-five minutes of play as Joseph Cairns slotted home following a Cody Fisher cut-back. A superb counter attack from the Saddlers who advanced up the pitch at great speed to bag the opening goal of the game.

The Saddlers almost doubled their lead around ten minutes later as Ben Kendrick sent a header over the bar following O'Sullivan's well-placed corner.

Tobias Hayles-Docherty, who was captaining the side, almost added to his side's lead five minutes before the break as he latched onto a loose pass from the Shrews 'keeper, sadly for the Saddlers his effort slid past the post, sparing the stopper's blushes.

The visitors almost levelled the scores just before the break as Callum Roberts almost took advantage of some slack Walsall defending as he headed the ball just past the post from a corner.


Walsall got the second-half underway, but the second-half took a little while to produce the first effort on goal.

The Saddlers looked to double their lead after five-or-so minutes of the second half as O'Sullivan forced the 'keeper to punch clear following a in-swinging free kick.

Much of the second-half was confined to midfield, but wasn't without incident, the Shrews appealed for a penalty just after the hour mark but the referee was not interested as he waives away the protests.

After a brief break in the play as a player from both sides received treatment, substitute Debert Massamba flashed an effort across goal following Fisher's slick pass. A driving run from Massamba to find the space to shoot.

After seventy-minutes of play Cody Fisher was the next Saddler to have an effort on goal, his first-time shot drifted wide of goal as the Shrews 'keeper was not forced into action.

Shrewsbury captain George Hughes was booked for a poor challenge on Saddlers sub Ethan Freemantle, a reckless challenge for which was rightfully punished by the match officials.

Walsall doubled their lead with around fifteen minutes of the second-half remaining as Mitchel Candlin, who recently made is full-debut, pounced on a Brett Taylor pass to break into the box,round the 'keeper and slot home.

Shrewsbury almost got back into contention as the game headed towards full-time as second-half substitute Tyrone Ofori was one-on-one with Brandon Ganley, the stopper did well to put pressure on the attacker as he could only find the side-netting with his effort.

The Shrews were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of the game as the referee seemed to spot a handball inside the area. The Saddlers could not be beaten as Ganley stood firm to deny John McAtee, who could not score from the spot.

A competitive game but deserved victory for the Saddlers who end their 2016/17 campaign with a win.

GOALS | Cairns (25'), Candlin (75')

Don't forget you can join us across social media, we're @BescotBanter on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also find the very latest Saddlers news and updates on Google News.
 Twitter     Facebook     Instagram     Google News