Central League: Walsall 1 Mansfield Town 1 Central League: Walsall 1 Mansfield Town 1
Central League: Walsall 1 Mansfield Town 1

Central League: Walsall 1 Mansfield Town 1

The Walsall Development team were in Central League action on Tuesday afternoon as they played host to Mansfield Town at Ray Hall Lane.
After a season-long hiatus Walsall have been placed in the North East Midlands league of this season's competition and will come up against Doncaster Rovers, Grimsby Town, Rotherham United, Scunthorpe United, and this afternoon's opponents Mansfield over the course of the campaign.

Along with the Central League Walsall will also take part in the Birmingham, Staffordshire, and Walsall Senior Cups, giving the club's fairly small squad plenty of opportunities to impress and earn a place in the first-team.

Walsall XI: Rose; Pring, K.Roberts, Norman, Cockerill-Mollett, Willis, Bates, Hardy, Campbell, Mukadam, Allamby-John

Substitutes: Rogerson; Little, Foulkes, Pearce, Moss, Johnson
Mansfield Town XI: Stone; Gibbens, Walker, Hamilton, Smith, Tomlinson, Fielding, Knowles, Afolayan, Clarke, Law

Substitutes: Campbell, Chisholm, Sketchley, Graham, Tomlin

Today's match kicked-off at 2.00pm and it was the visitors who got the contest underway but the Saddlers who had the first attack on goal as on-loan Bristol City defender Cameron Pring looked to make his way down the wing.

Thankfully for the Stags defender James Clarke did well to read the play and gain possession of the ball stopping Pring, who is looking to force his way back into the first-team following a spell on the sidelines, in his tracks.

Walsall, who were overseen by development coach Brian Dutton, enjoyed the majority of possession over the next ten minutes or so but didn't create much in the way of goal-scoring opportunities as time ticked away.

The Stags' first effort of the afternoon came via the left foot of striker Tom Fielding, who saw his shot slip past the post, Saddlers stopper Jack Rose not troubled as the score remained tied.

CJ Hamilton was the next Stag to get forward in attack as he was able to drive at goal and even managed to break into the Saddlers' area before left-back Callum Cockerill-Mollett was able to slide in and steal the ball.

Mansfield were soon back on the attack and saw a Willem Tomlinson free-kick almost fall for Lewis Gibbens who was inches away from reaching the ball at the back post. A let off for the Saddlers.

Walsall weren't happy to just sit back and went on to open the scoring after around thirty-minutes of play as James Hardy blasted the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area. A superb strike from the summer signing.

Mansfield almost immediately found a response as Hamilton and Jimmy Knowles combined in attack. Luckily for the Saddlers Knowles was unable to get his shot on target as the ball drifted past the post.

There were no further goals but Mansfield did win a corner after Hamilton and Jason Law combined to see the former's shot blacked for an ultimately wasted corner kick.

1 - 0

The Stags started the second-half on the front foot as Clarke broke down the wing before sending an over-hit cross towards goal. Thankfully for the Saddlers his effort was far too heavy as the Reds remained in the lead.

Mansfield's next effort came via former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Tomlinson who saw an effort clear the bar. No goal for the Stags but another sign of intent from the travelling side.

Mansfield made the first change of the game shortly after the hour mark as Jordan Graham replaced Tom Fielding.

The visitors continued their search for an equaliser and saw another effort go close as Law and Knowles combined to see the latter steer a weak header wide of Rose's goal.

Walsall soon went on to make a few changes as Cameron Pring, Cameron Norman, James Hardy, Jayden Allamby-John and Joe Willis make way for Luke Little, Perry Moss, Luke Pearce, Joe Foulkes and Raphael Johnson.

CJ Hamilton continued to pose a threat as he lifted an effort over the bar following Graham's strong ball, the latter doing well to evade the challenge of Kory Roberts before finding his attacking colleague.

Mansfield went close to securing a leveller just a few minutes later as saw a powerful header drop wide of goal. The Stag will be disappointed with his effort as he was afforded plenty of space in front of goal.

Knowles continued to be a threat and sent another effort over the bar from the edge of the area. More space afforded to the visitors who continued their search for an equalising goal.

Disappointingly for the Saddlers they would be unable to hold onto their narrow lead as the ever-present CJ Hamilton broke into the Walsall area before squaring the ball to Graham who slotted into an empty net.

A disappointing final few minutes for the Saddlers but some good minutes for both the fringe players and members of Miguel Llera's under-18s as both look to add to their fitness levels.

1 - 1
Hardy (30')
Graham (87')
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