MATCH REPORT | Solihull Moors 3 Walsall 2 MATCH REPORT | Solihull Moors 3 Walsall 2
MATCH REPORT | Solihull Moors 3 Walsall 2

MATCH REPORT | Solihull Moors 3 Walsall 2

Walsall manager Jon Whitney named two different XI's either side of half-time as he assessed his options ahead of the upcoming campaign.
On Saturday afternoon the Saddlers, who had recently returned from 'Cassius Camps' in the Lake District, travelled to Damson Park to take on Solihull Moors in the opening pre-season fixture ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. We were in attendance, and our match report is below.

Walsall's first official pre-season game of the summer saw the Saddlers get off to a flying start, with Maz Kouhyar opening the scoring just three minutes into the match at Damson Park, finishing off a lovely move from Tobias Hayles-Docherty and Florent Cuvelier, with a well struck shot finding the bottom right corner.

Solihull Moors looked to respond just four minutes later, when a trialist found a route through the Saddlers defences, but he lacked control and Liam Roberts was able to clear the danger before he was able to get a shot away.

Walsall dominated possession during the early stages of the game, but were unable to create much, with much of the action contained in the midfield area. Seventeen minutes in, following a decent spell of possession from the hosts, the Saddlers regained the ball and launched an attack, with Erhun Oztumer picking out Simeon Jackson, who was able to lose his marker and send a low shot in. Solihull 'keeper, Nathan Vaughan was alert to the danger and got down well to his left to push the ball away.

The visitors continued to test their hosts, with several shots being fired in from distance, but the Moors defences stood strong and blocked the efforts. Twenty five minutes in, goalscorer Hayles-Docherty looked set to net a second when he was picked out in the box by Oztumer, but his low effort sailed wide of the near post.

Three minutes later, Solihull created their first real chance of the game, when Jermaine Hylton pounced on a Matt Preston clearance, finding himself with space to shoot, but the striker dragged his effort wide of the near post without troubling Roberts between the sticks.

As we headed past the half hour mark, Solihull won a free-kick in a dangerous position, twenty five yards out, which Darren Carter struck well. The ball bounced in front of Roberts but the Walsall 'keeper was still able to gather comfortably.

There was a brief break in play, thirty seven minutes in, whilst George Carline received treatment. Carline was unable to continue and was replaced by Jack Edwards.

As we raced towards the interval, the hosts won a corner, which was swung in towards the back-post by Carter, where it was met by the recently introduced Edwards, whose headed effort was directed straight into the waiting arms of Roberts. That would be the last real action of the half, with the Saddlers taking a one-goal lead into the break.


Solihull got the second half underway, with a fresh Walsall XI taking to the field. The Saddlers looked to start the second half as they had the first, with a fabulous effort from Joe Edwards coming just four minutes in, but Edwards powerful effort from inside the box sailed inches over the bar. Moments later, Jordon Sangha was presented with an opportunity to extend his sides lead, but he curled his effort just over the bar.

The game opened up a little, and fifty four minutes in, Solihull won a throw-in, which was headed onto the bar by Jack Edwards, before Hylton tapped home the rebound to level the scores. Moments after the goal, the hosts opted to make two changes to their line-up, with two trialists making way for Tom Tonks and Tyrese Shade.

Buoyed by their equaliser, the hosts continued to press and the pressure soon paid off as, sixty one minutes in, a mix up in the Saddlers defences allowed Hylton through on goal. He rounded Saddlers second half 'keeper, Mark Gillespie, and converted an easy effort to put his side ahead.

In the sixty fifth minute, goalscorer, Jermaine Hylton was replaced by a trialist, and three minutes later, another trialist was brought on in place of Darren Carter, as the hosts continued to look at their potential summer signings. There was little action of note as the match continued, and in the seventy first minute, the hosts made a further change to their eleven, with Dapo Afolayan making way for Marshall Willock, before Nathan Vaughan made way for Matt Hill.

After a quiet spell, the Saddlers found an equaliser in the eighty first minute, when Cameron peters knocked the ball down to Edwards just inside the box. Edwards smashed his effort past Hill in the Moors goal to level the scores. The tied score didn't last long, as a Solihull eighty fifth minute free-kick saw the hosts re-take the lead. Tonks played a low ball in from the set-piece, which Joel Kettle was able to get a foot to to divert it past Gillespie in the Walsall goal.

The hosts held onto their slender lead for the final five minutes of the game, and the referee called an end to the match with Solihull Moors finishing victorious by three goals to two.

GOALS | Hylton (54', 61'); Kettle (85') - Kouhyar (3'); Edwards (81')
ATT | 647
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