EFL Youth Alliance: Walsall 3 Accrington Stanley 0

Walsall Under-18s were back in EFL Youth Alliance (North West) action on Saturday afternoon as they played host to Accrington Stanley at Ray Hall Lane.
The young Saddlers, who are managed by former Sheffield Wednesday defender Miguel Llera, have enjoyed an OK start to their 2019/20 alliance campaign - winning two and losing two of their opening four outings.

Llera's lads went into this weekend's clash with Stanley on the back of a late defeat to Blackpool. Harry Winstanley's late header was enough to secure the points for the Seasiders.

Opponents Accrington were 5th in the table and had won three and lost three of their six outings and were keen to bounce back from last weekend's 3-2 defeat to Port Vale as hey made the trip to the Birmingham County FA's headquarters in Great Barr.

Walsall XI: Rogerson; Coogan, Lynch, Perry, Foulkes, Zona, Moss, Willis, Allamby-John, McSkeane, Mukadam

Substitutes: Clapp, Sharp, Campbell, Francis, Pearce

The match got off to a pacy start with both sides looking to settle in the somewhat breezy conditions at Ray Hall Lane. Saddlers manager Miguel Llera keen for his side to pick up the pace.

The first real opening of the game didn't arrive until the midway point in the first-half as Jayden Allamby-John forced a corner with a Stanley defender forced into action to prevent the opening goal.

The resulting corner, which was taken by Danny Coogan, fell for Alex McSkeane who could only direct his header over Stanley goalkeeper Louis Hood's crossbar.

Both sides continued to prod and probe in search of the games's opening goal, both having penalty appeals turned down. But it was the Saddlers who ultimately opened the scoring as referee Paul Sanderson awarded them a spot kick.

Joe Willis, who had been upended in the area to win the opportunity, was able to regain his composure and send the 'keeper the wrong way, putting the Reds into the lead.

1 - 0

The Saddlers, buoyed by their goal, continued to look for another as the second forty-five got underway.

The first solid opening of the half came via an McSkeane header, which forced 'keeper Hood into action. Not the most difficult of saves, but a chance created nonetheless.

The Saddlers continued to be the better side and went on to force the 'keeper into a couple more saves as McSkeane, who was marking his return from suspension, looked to get on the score-sheet.

Manager Miguel opted to make a couple of changes after the match reached the hour mark as McSkeane and Allamby-John were replaced by Jayden Campbell and Luke Pearce.

Accrington weren't completely shut-out and kept Saddlers stopper Dominic Rogerson alert as substitute Kevin Spinelli was able to find space before heading an effort over the bar from close range.

Disappointingly for Stanley the Saddlers soon went on to double their lead as Jayden Campbell got on the end of Perry Moss' sweet defence-splitting pass to slot the ball past the 'keeper at the second time of asking.

Llera went on to make another change as Saif Mukadam was replaced by Ade Francis as the Saddlers looked to hold on to their welcome clean-sheet.

The substitution don't stop the scoring as Walsall went on to further extend their lead as second-half sub Luke Pearce got on the end of Willis' long ball to slot home past Hood. A well deserved goal for the dominant Saddlers.

Llera made another change shortly after his side secure their third goal as Kyle Sharp came on for Perry Moss.

Following a brief scuffle which saw Danny Coogan and Charlie Ridge booked, there were no further goals as the Saddlers went on to secure a welcome and deserved win.

3 - 0
Willis [P]

REF: Paul Sanderson
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