Youth Alliance Cup: Walsall 1 Scunthorpe United 1

Walsall Under-18s were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they play host to Scunthorpe United Under-18s in their latest EFL Youth Alliance Cup - Northern Group 4 outing of the season.
Managed by former Sheffield Wednesday defender Miguel Llera, the Saddlers have enjoyed a good start to both their Alliance and Alliance Cup campaigns, winning eight of their eleven outings.

Although the group winners and three of the remaining four teams will advance to the next round, Llera's side had chance of advancing to the next stage as group winners as they sat second having won their meetings with Salford City and Chesterfield before slipping to a narrow defeat away to Grimsby Town last weekend.

Saturday's clash with Scunthorpe was a must win for the Saddlers as they sought to add three crucial points tally and boost their points per game ratio which could well decide the league winners if the Saddlers could match leaders Grimsby's points total.

Opponents Scunthorpe arrived at this weekend's the match on the back of a two-nil away win at Chesterfield in the same competition on Tuesday afternoon as Joey Dawson netted twice as United earned their second win in three group outings.

The young Iron were level on points with Walsall heading into this afternoon's match and ware also within a chance of winning the group but needed to defeat the Saddlers by two goals or more in order to overtake their opponents in the overall standings.

Walsall XI: Rogerson; Coogan, Lynch, Perry, Foulkes, Perry, Moss, Willis, Pearce, Campbell, McSkeane

Substitutes: Sarvari, Jackson, Taylor, Francis, Mukadam
Scunthorpe United XI: Collins, Baker, Train, Shrimpton, Kemp, Lobley, Wilson, Silva, Dawson, Jessop, Chadli

Substitutes: L.Gallimore, Balme, D.Gallimore, Virgo

Scunthorpe got the game underway and it was the Iron who created the first opening of the half as Aidan Train did well to win the ball before driving up the pitch and finding Harry Jessop in space, sadly for the visitors that's where the attack ended as Jessop's cross was cleared.

Undeterred by their visitors' promising start, the Saddlers were soon on the attack themselves and saw an Alex McSkeane header saved as stopper Tom Collins was able to keep his sheet clean in the early stages,

The visitors were soon back on the offensive and were ultimately able to open the scoring as, shortly after Joe Foulkes was able to block a Jessop shot, the ball fell for Joey Dawson, who was able to slot home from close range.

Following the goal the game fell into something of a midfield battle with goal-scoring opportunities proving hard to come by as both sides sought to take control of proceedings.

The next action in the final third went Scunthorpe's way as Jessop forced a corner after evading his man before sending a cross into the box. The resulting flag-kick came to nothing with the Iron unable to add to their goal.

The Saddlers were soon creating an opening of their own and saw appeals for a penalty ignored after good work from Jayden Campbell and McSkeane saw the ball hit a defender before being gathered by the 'keeper. There were claims of hand-ball but the officials were unmoved.

Walsall continued their push for an equaliser and were soon rewarded as a well worked free-kick saw them back on level terms. Alert play from Sam Perry, who took a quick free-kick to find the run of Campbell, saw a cross whipped into the box where Luke Pearce was on hand to head home.

A great way to cap off a great few days for the young striker who was named on the bench for the Saddlers' midweek EFL Trophy - Round Two win over Cheslea U21s, no doubt a great experience of the young prospect.

The Saddlers' leveller gave them plenty of confidence and saw them go on to take control of much of the play Pearce and Campbell both creating openings, Pearce sending a header wide of goal and Campbell forcing the stopper into a save with a powerful low drive.

Scunthorpe were not without their chances and saw a Jessop effort tipped over the bar shortly before the match reached the halfway point, Dominic Rogerson doing well to read the flight of the ball.

1 - 1

The second-half got underway in peculiar fashion as Walsall 'keeper Rogerson was booked after felling Iron substitute Levi Gallimore on the edge of the area. Thankfully for Dom and his teammates the resulting free-kick was poor and easily cleared.

Walsall soon won a free-kick of their own as Sam Perry was felled when on the attack. Captain Joe Willis was the man to take the kick and forced Collins into a smart save as the 'keeper's wall failed to block the effort.

The visitors enjoyed the better start to the second forty-five but the Saddlers' backline was able to prevent another goal as Llera's side continued to show plenty of drive, something the manager has been keen to work upon since taking charge.

Shortly after Iron attacker Levi Gallimore saw an attack thwarted, the Saddlers made their first change of the game as Saif Mukadam took the place of goalscorer Pearce.

There was a break in play with around twenty-minutes of normal time remaining as Cameron Wilson recieved treatment on the pitch. Walsall boss Llera taking the opportunity to talk to his players, as they looked to take the lead before full-time.

When the match got back underway the Saddlers were swiftly on the attack and saw an effort saved following some neat play between Campbell and Moss, the former forcing a save as the scores remained tied.

Walsall went on to make a couple of changes as the half continued with Samim Sarvari replacing Campbell and Ade Francis, who was celebrating his 17th birthday, replacing McSkeane in attack.

The Saddlers' next attack resulted in a penalty box scramble as Willis' corner proved to be hard to clear, although following plenty of attempts, the ball was eventually sent out of the area.

Both the Saddlers and Iron earned late corner kicks but there were no further goals as the spoils were ultimately shared. A great game with plenty of attacking endeavour.

1 - 1
Pearce (26')
Dawson (9')
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