Match Report: Walsall 1 Aston Villa 5
 
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Match Report: Walsall 1 Aston Villa 5
 
Match Report: Walsall 1 Aston Villa 5

Match Report: Walsall 1 Aston Villa 5

9:45 pm Wednesday, 24 July 2019  
Here is our Match Report from Wednesday evening's pre-season clash between Walsall and Aston Villa.
The Saddlers arrived at the match on the back of a disappointing defeat to Notts County, a loss which left manager Darrell Clarke seething as his side failed to build upon a strong opening half to lose by two-goals-to-one at Meadow Lane.

Aston Villa got the match underway, with the game getting off to a frantic start. It was Walsall who started the brighter, with Josh Gordon firing a twenty yard effort inches over the bar in just the fifth minute.

With ten minutes on the clock, the visitors took the lead, as a ball down the line from Jack Grealish was picked up by Frederic Guilbert, who in turn fed Jota who fired home.

Just two minutes later, Villa doubled their lead, as Jota turned provider, setting up Wesley Moreas who fired neatly into the corner. The hosts continued to look lively, with Wesley looking to turn provider himself moments later, as he did well to beat Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts to a through-ball before seeing his eventual cross in cleared by the Saddlers defences.

The visiting side almost extended their lead further in the twentieth minute, but after some patient build-up play, the eventual shot on goal was fired over the bar from close range.

The Saddlers won a corner in the twenty-third minute, but the visiting defences stood firm and easily dealt with the danger. The hosts continued to press, as they began to enjoy more of the ball, and Elijah curled an effort narrowly wide of the upright just a minute later.

Walsall's resurgence was short lived, as Villa won possession and raced up to the other end, where a bit of melee in the box saw the visitors awarded a penalty as Wesley was pulled back. The striker stepped up to take the spot-kick, and coolly fired the ball into the top corner.

As we reached the half-hour mark, the Saddlers pulled a goal back, as some lovely work from Danny Guthrie on the edge of the area, ultimately allowed him to set up Stuart Sinclair, who curled an effort into the top corner from just inside the box.

Villa were soon back on the attack, with Jota setting up Henri Lansbury, who drew a solid save from Roberts.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the thirty-fifth minute, allowing Andre Green to receive treatment after a clash of heads. The break allowing the players to take a much needed drinks break, on a balmy evening.

The visitors again enjoyed an extended spell of possession as the match got back underway, and after some patient play, were rewarded with a fourth goal, as Jota fired past Robers, into the bottom corner from eighteen yards in the forty-fourth minute. That would be the last action of the first-half, as they sides headed off, the Saddlers trailing by four-goals-to-one.

WALSALL
1 - 4
ASTON VILLA

Darrell Clarke opted to make three changes as the sides returned to the field, Mat Sadler, Josh Gordon and Liam Roberts sitting out the second-half as Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Morgan Ferrier and Jack Rose took their places as their side got the match action back underway.

Both sides enjoyed spells of possession during the opening eight minutes of the half, without causing their opposition any concern. That changed in the fifty-third minute, as a superb solo effort saw Green win the ball and beat two Walsall defenders before sending a powerful effort cannoning off the crossbar.

The visiting side found their fifth, five minutes later, as a long ball across the box from Wesley, found Grealish who fired home.

The Saddlers opted to make two further changes to their line-up as we reached the hour mark, as the gaffer continued to access his options ahead of fast approaching League Two campaign. Danny Guthrie and Elijah Adebayo the duo making way as Alfie Bates and James Hardy entered the fray.

The sides cancelled each other out as the action continued, with both sides seeing plenty of the ball, without really creating anything going forwards.

With sixty-seven minutes on the clock, the hosts opted to make another two changes, as Cameron's Norman and Pring were replaced by Shay Facey and Wes McDonald.

The home side won a corner, twenty minutes from time, but the ball in beat everyone in the box, causing the Villa defences no problems as it sailed through the crowd and out of the danger zone.

Dean Smith opted rang the changes in the seventy-second minute, replacing his entire outfield.

It took a while for the sides to settle after the wholesale changes had been made, but it wasn't long before Rushian Hepburn-Murphy impressed, with a few dummied efforts, but the striker took too long to make up his mind and eventually lost the ball before he could get a shot away.

There was cause for concern for both sides in the seventy-ninth minute as both Cockerill-Mollett and James Bree required treatment following a nasty clash of heads. Both were eventually able to return to their feet and the match got back underway.

Villa had the ball in the net again in the eighty-fifth minute, as Scott Hogan slotted home, but an infringement of the offside rule meant the goal would not stand.

The match rather fizzled out, becoming something of a midfield battle for the final five minutes before the referee brought an end to the game, with Villa's five-goals-to-one lead intact.

A good run-out for the Saddlers as they build fitness ready for the long League Two campaign ahead.

WALSALL
1 - 5
ASTON VILLA
Sinclair (29')




Jota (10')
Jota (45')
Wesley (12')
Wesley PEN (28')
Grealish (59')
Attendance: 8,400
Referee: -

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