Match Report: Alfreton Town 2 Walsall 1 Match Report: Alfreton Town 2 Walsall 1
Match Report: Alfreton Town 2 Walsall 1

Match Report: Alfreton Town 2 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's pre-season clash between Alfreton Town and Walsall.
Manager Darrell Clarke named a strong side for the opening half of his first outing as Saddlers manager with new signings and experienced players lining up on a warm Saturday afternoon.

As the Saddlers took a little time to get settled, our opponents, who have already kicked-off their pre-season campaign with a narrow defeat to Nottingham Forest, looked to hit the ground running.

Shane Killock headed the ball towards Dale Whitham who went on to earn a free kick following a handball. Josh Clackstone`s subsequent ball in cleared but the Reds looked confident in the early goings.

Sadly for our hosts their momentum would be short lived as Elijah Adebayo bagged his first goal in a Walsall shirt, the former Fulham prospect doing well to get on the end of Cameron Norman's header - the right-back sending the ball back into the box - to head the ball home for the opening goal of the game.

The Saddlers continued to grow into the game and were denied what looked to be a blatant penalty as Norman was pulled back by Clackstone, the referee was unmoved as the match continued.

Both sides continued to prod and probe, despite a sixteenth-minute corner Walsall's next real opening didn't arrive until we reached the midway point in the half as, following Josh Gordon's blocked effort, Adebayo forced the 'keeper into a smart save with a volley.

The Saddlers' next opening came a couple of minutes later as Dan Scarr's long ball found Adebayo in space, he went on to send a sweetly-struck cross into the box where Gordon would fail to keep his header down, the score remaining one-nil.

Walsall continued their search for a second goal and forced another corner shortly before the half-hour mark, The flag kick came to nothing as Nicholson was able to gather the ball and ease the pressure.

Darrell Clarke's side went close to grabbing a second with around ten minutes of the half remaining as Dan Scarr smashed the ball over the bar following a mini-scramble in the box. An initially-cleared corner from the left causing a little confusion in the Alfreton area.

New arrival Stuart Sinclair was soon amongst the efforts as he lifted sweetly-struck volley over the bar, the former Bristol Rovers midfielder in a good bit of space to get his shot away.

Frustratingly for the Saddlers they were unable to protect their lead all the way to half-time as, following Bobby Johnson's display of skill, Josh Clackstone got to a loose ball in the Walsall area and slammed home. The Reds scoring with their first real effort on goal.

1 - 1

Walsall made several changes at half-time with a trio of trialists, former Wolves duo Jonathan Flatt and Liam McAlinden lining-up alongside Alex Nicholls, in the new look-line-up.

Alfreton started the half well as Bobby Johnson saw an effort blocked following Josh Wilde's neat attacking move, the captain displaying a bit of skill to beat his man.

The home side continued to push for a goal which would take them into the lead as Bobby Johnson's cross fell to Shane Killock, the former AFC Telford United man sending a powerful header just wide of goal.

Following a spell which saw our hosts win a couple of free-kicks, the Saddlers created an opening of their own as the two trialists - McAlinden and Nicholls - linked up to force the Alfreton 'keeper into action, Nicholls' touch letting him down at the crucial moment.

Danny East was the next of the home players to go close to putting his side into the lead as he headed just over the bar following a swift counter attack.

Bobby Johnson continued to provide a threat as he curled an effort wide from the edge of the area following Wilde's neat pass, the Saddlers not enjoying much of the ball as the home side pushed for another.

The home side went close again with just over ten minutes left on the clock as one of their as-yet unnamed trialists was able to break down the left wing before picking out second-half substitute Harvey Grice, who could only direct his header wide of goal.

Our hosts continued to have the better of the play and forced trialist Flatt into another save as the ball came back out to Morgan Brough, who couldn't get the connection he needed as the scores remained tied, Flatt able to deny them another.

Shortly after Flatt had been forced into a double save - Trialist and Grice having efforts saved - the home side took the lead as substitute Brough, who had initially been denied by Flatt, was able to back-heel the ball into the back of the net as a fortunate rebound found him in oceans of space.

A disappointing result for the Saddlers, their second-half display leaving much to be desired. Hopefully the upcoming matches will allow Darrell Clarke and his side to work on a few of the issues as we edge nearer to the start of the season.

2 - 1
Clackstone (39')
Brough (87')
Adebayo (6')

Attendance: 511
Referee: Daniel Middleton
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