Saturday, 25 November 2017

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Youth Alliance | Walsall 1 Blackpool 4

Walsall's Under-18s were back in Alliance action on Saturday afternoon as they played host to Blackpool.
Graham Biggs' Walsall Under-18s returned to Youth Alliance (North West) action on Saturday afternoon as they played host to Blackpool at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre. Here is our brief match report.

Walsall XI | Ganley; Little, Fisher, Mason, Kendrick, Leivesley, O'Sullivan, K.Flanagan, Cairns, Candlin, Massamba

Substitutes | Dawe; Friel, Willis, Parker, Nolan
Blackpool XI | Thordarson; Jacobson, Winstanley, O’Brien, Avon, Roache, Adarkwa, Sinclair-Smith, Dunne, Jaaskelainen, Shaw

Substitutes | Simson; Graham, Maddox, Williams

Ahead of kick-off the Saddlers were in tenth place in the Alliance having won just three of their nine league games. Their most recent outing saw them suffer a narrow one-nil defeat to Accrington Stanley.

Blackpool were eighth in the table after winning three of their eight games. The young Seasiders were also in action last weekend as they hammered Port Vale by six-goals-to-one.

Walsall got the game underway, but it was the visitors who started stronger. Their early pressure, which had seen them win a corner in the early stages, paying off after ten minutes when Rowan Roache crashed the ball into the bottom corner following Nathan Shaw's left-wing cross.

Blackpool doubled their lead ten minutes later as Will Dunne pounced on a poor backpass to slot the ball past Walsall 'keeper Brandon Ganley. A disappointing start for the Saddlers.

Graham Biggs' side fell further behind five minutes later as the visitors were awarded a penalty for handball inside the area. Opening scorer Rowan Roache was the man to step up and slot the ball home.

Walsall would concede a fourth goal shortly after the half-hour mark as Emil Jaaskelainen capitalised on another poor defensive pass to slip the ball home. Disappointing for Ganley who had produced a superb save to deny the visitors just moments earlier.

The Saddlers went on to make a double substitution with Ben Friel and Dylan Parker replacing Dan O'Sullivan and Debert Massamba.

The visitors continued to search for goals and forced Ganley into a save with five minutes of the half remaining as Finlay Sinclair-Smith was denied following a neat Jaaskelainen pass. The match would head into the break with Blackpool leading by four-goals-to-nil.


The second-half was much less of an event than the first. Chances were at a premium. The Saddlers forced Blackpool defender Will Avon into a double block after ten minutes of play, a great display to keep his side in the lead.

Brendan O'Brien had an opportunity to add to his team's tally but could only head the ball straight at Ganley following Sinclair-Smith's cross.

The visitors went on to make a couple of changes after the hour mark as Sean Graham replaced Nana Adarkwa then Emil Jaaskelainen made way for Tom Williams a few minutes later.

Walsall grabbed a consolation goal after sixty-seven minutes as Dylan Parker, who recently joined the club from Stratford Town, slotted the ball past Craig Thordarson in the Blackpool goal.

The Saddlers had a free kick in a dangerous area but could do little with it as Will Dunne cleared the danger. Noting really coming off for the Sadlers as the match continued.

The visitors make their third and final change of the game after seventy-three minutes as Nathan Shaw was forced off with a bloody nose. Sam Maddox his replacement.

Brandon Ganley remained alert and denied the visitors a fifth goal with a fine save. Rowan Roache the man denied as he looked to complete his hat-trick.

Graham Biggs made a late change with Joe Willis replacing Stefan Mason. One last roll of the dice as time continued to tick away.

There were no further goals, and nothing in the way of clear-cut chances during the closing stages of the match as Blackpool moved up the table as the Saddlers continued with their indifferent form. A better performance in the second-half but unfortunately the damage had already been done.

⚽ Parker (67') // Roache (10', PEN 25') Dunne (29') Jaaskelainen (32')

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