CENTRAL LEAGUE | Walsall 0 Port Vale 3 CENTRAL LEAGUE | Walsall 0 Port Vale 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

CENTRAL LEAGUE | Walsall 0 Port Vale 3

The Saddlers opened their Central League campaign at home to Port Vale on Tuesday afternoon. Here is our match report.
On Tuesday afternoon, John Ward's Walsall Development side played host to Port Vale in the opening Central League fixture of the season. Here is our match report.

WALSALL XI | L.Roberts; Shorrock, Sangha, Butterfield, Leek, Kendrick, Flanagan, Cuvelier, Ismail; Jackson, Candlin

Substitutes | Dawe; Little, Mason, O'Sullivan, Massamba
PORT VALE XI | Hornby, Wilson, Denton, Reeves, Anderson, Kelly, Stobbs, de Feitas, Barnett, Turner, Stewart

Substitutes | Gibbons, Calveley, Walford, Steele, Green-Birch

John Ward named a strong Saddlers XI, including Florent Cuvelier, Zeli Ismail and Simeon Jackson, as he looked to start the Central League campaign with a win. Meanwhile Port Vale, who are coached by David Kelly, named former Manchester United, Hull City and Ipswich Town striker Cameron Stewart among their ranks.

The opening chance of the game fell to the Valiants as a Lawrie Wilson cross met the head of an advancing Tyrone Barnett. Thankfully for the Saddlers his header was off target and presented no threat to Liam Roberts in the Walsall goal.

Walsall almost opened the scoring themselves after seven minutes of play as midfield man Jordon Sangha unleashed a first-time effort which rattled the crossbar. Zeli Ismail's neat pass creating the opening for the academy product.

The game continued to produce chances as Jack Stobbs sent an long-range effort over the bar. A little too much space afforded to the on-loan Sheffield Wednesday winger.

The Saddlers soon found themselves back in front of Sam Hornby's goal and should've opened the scoring as first-year pro Mitchel Candlin finished off an attacking move, which saw Will Shorrock neatly break into space, by blazing the ball over the bar from close range.

Not long after we reached the midway point in the first-half Tyrone Barnett kept Liam Roberts honest as he controlled a long-range pass and forced the Saddlers stopper into a save.

The Saddlers soon responded to their visitors as a corner was worked to Zeli Ismail, who drove into the final third before sending his effort crashing of the post from an angle as his marker applied some pressure.

Soon after Zeli's effort the Valiants once again created an opening of their own as Dan Turner sent Barnett's cross towards goal. The effort was fairly tame and no threat to Roberts who saved comfortably.

Port Vale opened the scoring with just over ten minutes of the half remaining as Jack Stobbs was on hand to tap home. Cameron Stewart and Tyrone Barnett played a hand in the goal as the former's cross was headed down by the latter, leading to Stobbs' finish.

Vale missed a golden opportunity to double their lead just a couple of minutes later as Milan Butterfield was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area leading to a penalty. Tyrone Barnett, whose shot had hit Butterfield, stepped up but blazed his effort over the bar.

There were no further goals in the half but Vale's Lawrie Wilson did have to be replaced late on as he sustained a cut following a clash with an opponent. The former Stevenage, Charlton Athletic and Bolton Wanderers defender being replaced by James Gibbons.


Port Vale started the second-half welland struck the post within a couple of minutes of the game getting back underway as Cameron Stewart had a cross deflected onto the frame of the goal. Tyler Denton with the initial pass.

The Valiants' good start continued just minutes later as Billy Reeves was played into space by a combination of Dan Turner and first-half goalscorer Jack Stobbs. Luckily for the Saddlers, he could only send his effort over the bar.

Walsall's first effort of the half came after nine minutes as Simeon Jackson burst past two defenders but could only fire wide from inside the area.

It wasn't long before Vale were back on the attack as Graham Kelly's free-kick was headed towards goal by Dan Turner. Liam Roberts producing a good save to prevent the goal.

Unfortunately for the home side, Port Vale soon went on to double their lead as Dan Turner slotted the ball home from Stobbs' right-wing cross. A bit too much space at the near post.

Walsall fell further behind almost immediately as Port Vale captain Anthony de Freitas was on the end of another Stobbs cross, the forward duly slipping the ball into the back of the net.

Dan Turner forced another save out of Roberts just after the hour mark as he chased a long ball and sent an effort across goal.

Reece Flanagan should've done better after sixty-five minutes of play as a Simeon Jackson cross was cleared into his path, but he could only slice the ball well wide of goal.

Saddlers defender Tom Leek had to be alert as Liam Roberts' headed clearance hit an advancing Vale attacker and almost rolled into goal. Leek keeping the score to three as he cleared the danger.

Vale kept creating chances as second-half substitute Lucas Green-Birch forced another save out of Roberts. Turner wit a neat pull-back to find Green-Birch in space, a fine parry from Roberts.

Walsall could've got a goal on the board as the match reached the eighty-second minute as Flo Cuvelier saw an effort deflect into the path of Simeon Jackson, who went on to prod the ball towards goal only for James Gibbons to clear off the line.

Deadline Day signing Zeli Ismail was the next tp have an effort on goal as he switched feet and sent the ball zipping past the post.

There were no further significant goal-scoring opportunities as the Saddlers began their 2017/18 Central League with a disappointing defeat.

GOALS | Stobbs (33') Turner (56') de Freitas (58')
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