Checkatrade Trophy: Walsall 1 Port Vale 2
Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Checkatrade Trophy - Northern Group E clash between Walsall and Port Vale.
The Saddlers reached Tuesday evening's outing following Saturday's Emirates FA Cup - First Round victory over Coventry City, a win which saw them withstand a Sky Blues comeback to reach Round Two.

Both Walsall and Port Vale had already secured their spot in the next round having won both of their previous tournament outings, with Burton Albion and Middlesbrough's Under-21s proving no issue to either the Saddlers or Valiants.

Dunn; Wilson, Fitzwater, Johnson, Leahy; Ismail, Ronan, Bates, Morris; Ferrier, Gordon

Substitutes: L.Roberts; Guthrie, Devlin; Kinsella; Parker, Cook, McSkeane
Port Vale
Hornby; Gibbons, Montano, Kay, Rawlinson, Quigley, Kanu, Dodds, Vassell, Conlon, Hardcastle

Substitutes: Agho, Brown, Pugh, Clark, Daniels

Saddlers boss Dean Keates opted to shuffle the pack, giving some of his fringe players an opportunity to impress as they look to force their way into the regular starting line-up. Academy products Alfie Bates and Alex McSkeane, earning places in the starting-XI and substitutes bench respectively.

The match started poorly for the Saddlers as the Valiants bagged the opening goal of the game with just four-minutes on the clock. Scott Quigley was the man to score as he got on the end of Idris Kanu's cross to head the ball into the bottom-left corner of Chris Dunn's goal.

Vale were soon looking to add to their tally as James Gibbons whipped in a cross onto the head of Quigley. Thankfully for the Saddlers, the frontman wasn't able to crash the ball home as Dunn easily grasped his tame effort.

Whilst the Saddlers were able to prevent another goal, and even went on to control much of the midfield play, they failed to create an opening of their own for much of the half, with Vale's defence able to quell any real danger.

Vale almost doubled their lead as the first-half reached the midway point as Louis Dodds' long-distance effort caused Dunn some problems as his parried rebound was tapped into an empty net by Quigley. Thankfully for the Saddlers, the striker was ruled offside.

Walsall created their best opening of the half with around ten minutes of the period remaining Walsall looked to open their account as Zeli Ismail slipped Morgan Ferrier in on goal, but defender Connell Rawlinson was alert to make a brilliant recovery tackle to prevent the striker from getting a shot away.

Despite the half looking like it would end with Vale on top, the Saddlers would go on to grab an equaliser with the last kick of the match as Connor Johnson initially got on the end of a Luke Leahy cross prodded the ball past Vale stopper Sam Hornby, following a scramble in the box.

1 - 1

Dean Keates opted to make a change at the break as Luke Leahy was replaced by Nicky Devlin at the back. Danny Pugh replaced Tom Conlon for the visitors.

Walsall's half didn't get off to the greatest start as goalscorer Connor Johnson, who had been booked in the first-half, was given his marching orders as he lost the ball to a quick-witted Quigley and went on to haul him down, ultimately receiving his second card of the campaign.

The Saddlers went on to make their second change of the game as Zeli Ismail left the field to be replaced by Liam Kinsella, the midfield man getting another chance to force his way into the side on a permanent basis.

The visitors went on to re-take the lead twenty minutes into the half. On-loan West Brom defender Kane Wilson failed to deal with Dodds' long-range pass as he mis-controlled the ball, allowing it to go under his foot, ultimately finding substitute Danny Pugh, who fired low past Dunn.

Walsall almost gifted their opponents a third goal after around seventy-minutes as goalkeeper Chris Dunn sent his clearance straight to the feet of Lewis Hardcastle, but luckily his chipped effort went wide of goal.

Dean Keates went on to make his third and final chance as Dylan Parker took to the field with Josh Gordon getting to sit back and relax on the sidelines.

Parker was almost sent through on goal just minutes after taking to the field when fellow prospect Alfie Bates looked to send him into the final third however, the 'keeper was alert to the danger and smothered the ball.

There were no further goals as the match ended with the Valiants taking the points which sees them finish as group winners. The Saddlers will have to make do with second place, unfortunately also qualifying for the next round.

1 - 2
Johnson (45+1')

Quigley (4')
Pugh (65')
Attendance: 878 (64)
Referee: Chris Sarginson
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