MATCH REPORT | Chester 1 Walsall 2 MATCH REPORT | Chester 1 Walsall 2
MATCH REPORT | Chester 1 Walsall 2

MATCH REPORT | Chester 1 Walsall 2

Walsall continued to build towards the 2017/18 campaign as they took on Jon McCarthy's Chester at the Swansway Chester Stadium.
On Saturday afternoon Jon Whitney's Saddlers travelled North to the newly-named Swansway Chester Stadium to take on Chester FC in the latest friendly ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. You can read our match report below.

Walsall started the game brightly, with Maz Kouhyar picking up a loose ball just three minutes in, before unleashing a powerful, thirty yard effort on goal, but Chester's trialist 'keeper was alert and held the ball well. A decent early chance for the visiting side, who continued to cause problems for their hosts as the match continued, keeping possession and getting forward well, without creating any further early chances.

The Saddlers continued to see much of the ball, and twenty one minutes in, were awarded a penalty when Lathaniel Rowe-Turner felled Simeon Jackson as the Walsall forward broke into the box. Jackson took the spot-kick, keeping the ball low, but the man between the sticks got down well to his right and kept the ball out.

The hosts enjoyed their first half chance of the afternoon twenty five minutes in, with a lovely ball played into the area from a free-kick by Paul Turnbull, but Liam Roberts was alert in the Walsall goal and came to collect. The Saddlers were quick to get the ball back to the other end and win themselves a corner. The cross in from Joe Edwards wasn't dealt with by the hosts, leaving Luke Leahy to turn the ball home from close range when it fell to him after taking a deflection.

Shortly after the half-hour mark, there was a brief break in play while Jackson received treatment. He was soon up and able to continue and the action got back underway, with Paul Turnbull creating the first real Chester chance of the afternoon, with a stunning thirty yard effort, but his shot lacked accuracy and sailed over the bar without troubling Roberts in goal.

The Saddlers continued to dominate as the game headed rapidly towards the interval, keeping possession well and looking good going forward, but were unable to create any real chance to extend their lead. Moments before the referee called time on the first half, Chester launched a counter-attack, culminating in Harry White firing a powerful effort goal-wards from close range, but Liam Kinsella was on hand to block, keeping his sides one-goal lead intact at the break.


Chester made four changes before the second half got underway, replacing their first half trialist goalkeeper, with a second trialist 'keeper, whilst introducing Matty Waters, Nyal Bell and Liam Davies in place of Jordan Chapell, Craig Mahon and James Akintunde.

The visitors started the half brightly, with Erhun Oztumer creating a chance five minutes in as he worked his way to the edge of the area, but his eventual shot curled over the crossbar without troubling the recently introduced trialist 'keeper. The hosts half-time changes soon made an impact on the game though; a stunning, fifty first minute, left-footed volley from Bell finding the back of the net to draw the sides level.

Both sides enjoyed some good spells of possession as the second half continued, but neither were able to create any real chances, as the game became something of a midfield battle.

Sixty four minutes in, both sides decided it was time to introduce some fresh legs, with Chester bringing on Lucas Dawson and Wade Joyce in place of Kingsley James and Paul Turnbull, whilst the Saddlers replaced Joe Edwards with Kieron Morris. Two minutes later, the hosts made a further change to their line-up, with Nathan Brown coming on in place of Harry White.

The raft of changes continued in the seventy third minute, when the Saddlers decided to make a triple substitution, introducing Nicky Devlin, Callum Cockerill-Mollett and Amadou Bakayoko in place of Liam Kinsella, Erhun Oztumer and Luke Leahy.

Moments after the Saddlers changes were made, the hosts went close to taking the lead; a thunderous, thirty yard effort from Davies which Roberts was able to hold at the second time of asking. A much more competitive affair in the second half, with either side looking capable of finding a winner.

Seventy eight minutes in, the chester bench made the decision to introduce James Jones into the fray, in place of Andy Halls. The Saddlers bench also took the opportunity to make a further change, as Mitchel Candlin replaced Simeon Jackson.

It took substitute Candlin just three minutes to make an impact on the game, picking up the ball from a corner kick and volleying home from inside the box to put his side back ahead.

Jon Whitney continued to assess his options ahead of the season opener in just two weeks time, introducing Jordon Sangha and Tobias Hayles-Docherty for the final seven minutes, as captain Adam Chambers and Maz Kouhyar made way.

Five minutes from time, some lovely play from Bakayoko set up Hayles-Docherty, but the young midfielder's low shot was easily saved by the trialist 'keeper. The Saddlers continued to seek a third goal as the clock ticked down, but the Chester defences stood firm and the referee drew a halt to proceedings with the Saddlers still leading by two-goals-to-one.

GOALS | Bell (51') - Leahy (26'), Candlin (82')
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