UP NEXT  Bescot Banter logo CHELTENHAM TOWN (AWAY) - SATURDAY, 31ST JULY 2021 - 3.00PM

Youth Alliance: Walsall 1 Blackpool 2

Walsall Under-18s were back in EFL Youth Alliance - North West action on Saturday afternoon as they played host to Blackpool Under-18s at Ray Hall Lane.
It has been a busy 2019/20 campaign for the young Saddlers as, along with the Youth Alliance, they have also entered the Youth Alliance Cup as well as seeing action in the Birmingham, Staffordshire, and Walsall Senior Cups.

Miguel Llera's side arrived at this weekend's match on the back of last weekend's 3-1 win over Accrington Stanley as goals from Alex McSkeane, Danny Coogan, and Jayden Campbell saw them register their second win in as many games.

Many of the Saddlers' squad also took part in the midweek Walsall Senior Cup - Second Round clash with Chasetown. Midfielder Danny Coogan grabbing Walsall's equalising goal which took the game to penalties and saw the Saddlers sneak through to the Quarter Final.

After seeing last weekend's scheduled clash with Rochdale postponed, opponents Blackpool sat sixth in the alliance table - one place below the Saddlers - with their most recent league fixture coming by way of a defeat to league leaders Preston North End earlier this month.

Walsall XI: Jackson; Coogan, Lynch, S.Perry, Zona, J.Perry, Sarvari, Willis, Pearce, Campbell, Mukadam

Substitutes: Sharp, Francis, Allamby-John, Dallywaters, Simcox
Blackpool XI: McLachlan; Turner, McGladdery, Goumou, Winstanley, Liptrott, Rogers, Smith, Wilson, Kanga, Apter

Substitutes: Monks; Beaumont, Wood, Sinclair, Strawn

Blackpool got the game underway but it was the Saddlers who enjoyed the more encouraging start to the game with the team ken to get the ball down and play as they looked to build a gap over their mid-table rivals.

The first opening of the game saw Jack Lynch find some pace before sending a sweet pass through the backline and into the path of Samim Sarvari. Sadly for the Saddlers the visitors were able to regain their composure and scrambled the ball away fro a flag-kick, which ultimately came to nothing.

The Saddlers continued their good start to the match and went close soon after as Sam Perry's dangerous pass split the defence putting Jayden Campbell one-on-one with Blackpool goalkeeper Alex Mclachlan. Sadly, Jayden was unable to open the scoring as his shot slipped past the post.

Undaunted by their missed opportunities the home side were soon back on the attack and forced Mclachlan into action once again as captain Joe Willis sent a free-kick into the box with the stopper having to act as several Saddlers were looking to poke the ball home.

Blackpool's first shot arrived just after the mid-way point on the first half as Andy Kanga's strong effort was blocked by an alert Luke Zona, the ball falling for a corner which the visitors couldn't make the most of.

Shortly after the Saddlers saw a penalty appeal waved away they went on to open the scoring as Willis' corner found the head of striker Luke Pearce, with the prospect crashing the ball home.

The Saddlers weren't happy to settle for a one-goal lead and went close once again soon after opening the scoring as Lynch found Campbell with a neat pass which allowed Campbell to cuts inside and shoot at goal. His effort looked to be heading towards goal but a deflection sent it just over the bar with the visitors scrambling.

Luke Pearce went close to doubling both his and the Saddlers' tally as he got on the end of Joe Perry's long-ball to force the 'keeper into a save. A successful half for the home side as they took their lead into the break.

WALSALL
1 - 0
BLACKPOOL

The visitors started the second-half better than they finished the first as they were able to get themselves back on level terms within five minutes of the game getting back underway.

After winning a corner following Rob Apter’s blocked free-kick, the Seasiders levelled the scores as Aaron Turner slammed the ball home from outside the area as the initial flag-kick was poorly cleared.

The visitors weren't done there and soon went on to take the lead as, following some neat play down the left wing, Matthew Liptrott was on hand to sweep the ball home at the back post. A terrible start to the second-half for the Saddlers.

Blackpool continued their push for more goals and went close once again as Kanga found space from a corner but was ultimately thwarted as his volley was bravely blocked.

The Saddlers started to regain their composure and soon created an opening of their own as Sam Perry's header hit the side-netting from Willis' corner. Close but not close enough as the match continued.

Walsall were soon back in defensive mode as Kanga continued his search for an individual goal, this time 'keeper Tommy Jackson was equal to the danger and produced a fine save to deny the attacker.

The Saddlers continued to push for an equalising goal and went close within the last ten minutes of the half as a Willis cross almost found the head of Danny Coogan, the defender looking to add to his midweek Walsall Senior Cup strike.

The visitors were reduced to ten men in the latter stages of the game as defender Aaron Turner picked up a second yellow card for a foul just outside the penalty area. The temperature rising as the match headed towards full-time.

Joe Willis took the free-kick but was unable to put his team back on level terms as his effort hit the Blackpool wall before being cleared towards the halfway line.

The Saddlers created another opening in second-half stoppage time as Sam Perry headed wide from a Willis free-kick. A frustrating spell for the Reds.

The match would end with the Tangerines in the lead. A disappointing afternoon for the young Saddlers who dominated the first-half before the visitors hit a quickfire double to put themselves ahead.

WALSALL
1 - 2
BLACKPOOL
Pearce (30')

Turner (50')
Liptrott (53')

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