MATCH REPORT | Lincoln City 2 Walsall 1 MATCH REPORT | Lincoln City 2 Walsall 1
MATCH REPORT | Lincoln City 2 Walsall 1

MATCH REPORT | Lincoln City 2 Walsall 1

Jon Whitney's side travelled to Sincil Bank where they played their penultimate pre-season friendly ahead of the next weekend's clash with big-spending Bury.
On Saturday afternoon the Saddlers continued their pre-season preparations as they took on a Lincoln City at Sincil Bank. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report below.

The game's first chance of note came after around seven minutes of play as Nathan Arnold and Billy Knott combined to find Jordan Maguire-Drew in space, his cross was overhit and the chance came to nothing.

Ollie Palmer forced a corner soon after Maguire-Drew's poor cross, but this also came to nothing as Mark Gillespie remained unbeaten.

With around twelve minutes on the clock the referee awarded Lincoln a free kick as Knott was felled after a driving run up field. The Saddlers' wall stood firm as the initial effort was blocked before the ball was cleared.

The Saddlers suffered a brief injury scare as young defender Callum Cockerill-Mollett had to receive treatment on an injured arm, but was OK to continue as the sponge worked it's magic.

Though the game was yet to produce a recognised shot on goal, the hosts continued to probe as Neal Eardley's ball in had to be cleared.

Simeon Jackson, who was partnered by Amadou Bakayoko as the saddlers lined-up in a 442 formation, was fed the ball by Kieron Morris and sent a thunderous strike just over the bar, a close call for the Lincoln defence as the Saddlers striker was afforded too much room.

Lincoln's Matt Briggs woke the crowd up from their slumber after the half-hour mark as he dragged an effort wide of goal following a brief passing exchange with Knott.

Our hosts almost broke the deadlock with under ten minutes of the first-half remaining as Ollie Palmer intercepted a loose pass from Kory Roberts to find Maguire-Drew in space, sadly, for the Imps, his chipped effort landed on the roof of the net as the scores remained level.

Liam Kinsella was called into action as he game neared the halfway stage, the right-back had to be alert to deny Nathan Arnold as the attacker was nearing a goal-scoring position. Colchester-born Kinsella doing well to chest the ball down as Arnold would've almost certainly opened the scoring.

Not the most thrilling game of football we've ever witnessed, hopefully the second half will ease our boredom as the manager's explore their many options...


The first opening of the second-half fell to Lincoln's Ollie Palmer, he created some space on the edge of the area but could only fire wide of goal.

The Saddlers would go on to break the deadlock soon after Palmer's effort as they cleared the ball to the other end of the pitch and won a corner. The resulting cross fell kindly for striker Simeon Jackson, who calmly slotted home from close range to give his side the lead.

A few minutes after the Saddlers had opened the scoring, the Imps were awarded an opportunity of their own as Knott was fouled outside the area, earning the Imps a free-kick. Walsall 'keeper Mark Gillespie was not troubled by the resulting effort as he gathered Maguire-Drew's shot to keep his sheet clean.

Just after the hour mark our hosts rang the changes as Ollie Palmer, Matt Briggs, Billy Knott, Jordan Maguire-Drew and Michael Bostwick were replaced by Matt Rhead, Sean Long, Josh Ginnelly, Elliott Whitehouse and Harry Anderson.

After the hosts' changes the Saddlers almost doubled their lead as Jackson forced Paul Farman into action. His effort, which lacked power because the Canadian international was on the turn, wasn't enough to trouble the stopper.

Following some City protests for a penalty that was never going to be given, the Saddlers made their first change of the game as Simeon Jackson was replaced by Mitchel Candlin, the young striker given another chance to impress as he continues his strong pre-season campaign.

With eighteen minutes of the second-half remaining Lincoln would level the scores as Nathan Arnold guided a diving header past Gillespie and into the back of the net. Former Saddler Josh Ginnelly with the cross.

The Saddlers made their second change of the match soon after City's leveller as Joe Edwards replaced Reece Flanagan in the middle of the park.

Lincoln went on to take the lead with just over ten minutes of the game remaining as Ginnelly's corner was met by the head of Sean Raggett, who sent the ball into the far corner of Gillespie's goal. Disappointing for the Saddlers who continue to struggle to deal with crosses into the box.

Ginnelly almost completed a hat-trick of assists a few minutes after his second as another corner was met by Raggett, luckily for the Saddlers the header went over the bar to keep the score at 2-1 to the home side.

As the match continued to edge closer to the final whistle, Walsall created a goal-scoring opportunity of their own as a Kieron Morris free-kick was met by the head of Jon Guthrie, his ball across goal was cleared as Bakayoko looked to pounce, so near and yet so far for the Saddlers.

With time almost up the Imps introduced former Saddler Lee Beevers to the game as he replaced Nathan Arnold to a standing ovation. The income generated from this afternoon's match will go to Lee and his family as he continues to recover from serious injury which he suffered last season.

Though the team was far from a first-choice selection, there was still far too little attacking threat from the Saddlers. Manager Jon Whitney will have to address this heading into the 2017/18 campaign.

GOALS | Arnold (72'), Raggett (79')- Jackson (49')
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