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Match Report: Birmingham City 3 Walsall 0

The Saddlers faced Birmingham City in their final pre-season outing ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
Darrell Clarke's side arrived at the match on the back of Saturday afternoon's one-all draw with Burton Albion and in search of a promising performance as the season will get underway at the weekend.

Saddlers manager Darrell Clarke named an experimental team for Tuesday afternoon's match with the likes of Mat Sadler, Zak Jules, Sam Perry, Jayden Campbell, Jack Nolan, and Elijah Adebayo joining five trialists.

The substitutes bench saw another trialist joining Tom Leak, Joe Foulkes, Saif Mukadam and Joe Willis as the gaffer took a look at a variety of options ahead of the new campaign.

Birmingham City began the match brightly, seeing lots of early possession, though Walsall looked good defensively, ensuring the scores remained level as they slowly grew into the game.

With sixteen minutes on the clock, the Blues saw their first real chance of the game go begging, as Amari Miller, Jayden Reid and Odin Bailey combined well before seeing the effort on goal sail over the crossbar without troubling the Walsall shot-stopper.

City continued to enjoy long spells of possession as the game continued, with the Saddlers struggling to break them down. The team in yellow were, however, able to successfully prevent any further chances on goal as they continued to defend well.

With twenty-eight minutes played, Birmingham went close to opening the scoring, but after cutting inside, Bailey dragged his shot wide.

The game continued to be played out largely in the midfield area, with the Saddlers still struggling to see much of the ball, though doing well to thwart any potential attack from their opposition.

The Blues won a corner in the thirty-seventh minute, which drew a clearance from the Walsall 'keeper, before the visiting side worked the ball up to the other end, where there were some ]calls for a penalty as Elijah Adebayo was felled as he cut inside his marker in the area, but the referee was unmoved by the appeals and play continued.

With forty-four minutes played, the Blues were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Agus Medina fired through the crowd and into the back of the net to put his side a goal to the good at the break.

BLUES
1 - 0
WALSALL

Walsall opted to make two changes to their line-up ahead of the second-half, with Trialist A and Zak Jules sitting out the second forty-five, as Trialist F and Tom Leak took their places.

Both sides enjoyed time on the ball as the match got back underway, but just eight minutes in, the Blues doubled their advantage, as Miller coolly slotted a lovely Bailey cross home from close range.

With fifty-seven minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make two further changes to their line-up, with Trialist B and Mat Sadler making way for Joe Foulkes and Saif Mukadam.

Just three minutes later, Walsall chose to make their final change of the afternoon, with Elijah Adebayo making way for Joe Willis.

The Blues followed suit in the sixty-third minute, making their first change of the day, as Nico Gordon made way for Mitch Roberts.

City continued to look the more likely to score as time wore on, as they continued to see much of the ball, but the Saddlers defended well, preventing any further chances of note.

With sixty-nine minutes on the clock, Walsall went close to pulling a goal back, as former Reading man, Jack Nolan cut inside and fired an effort goal-wards. His shot sailing narrowly over the crossbar. The team continued to enjoy a brighter spell, and almost created another chance moments later, but the Birmingham shot-stopper managed to gather a loose ball in the area to deny them.

In the sixty-ninth minute, the Blues opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Jon Toral being replaced by Charlie Lakin.

The match descended into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, without creating much going forwards. Lots of prodding and probing from both sides, with little end product on offer.

Walsall won a corner nine minutes from time, but the deep cross in was easily dealt with by the Blues defences. The hosts then drew a good save from the Saddlers shot-stopper at the other end, before Lakin volleyed wide.

The Walsall 'keeper was tested again by Lakin just two minutes later, and did well to turn the ball behind for a corner, which should have been turned home at the back post.

Three minutes from time, a good move from the home team saw Bailey secure their third goal of the afternoon, as the Walsall defences began to visibly tire.

The Saddlers continued to press until the last, but were unable to break down their opponents, and the Blues three-nil lead remained intact as the final whistle sounded.

A decent final run-out for the Saddlers ahead of the looming season, with some good play on show, despite the final result.

BLUES
3 - 0
WALSALL
Medina (44')
Miller (53') 
Bailey (87')


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