Pre-Season: Walsall 0 Aston Villa 4 Pre-Season: Walsall 0 Aston Villa 4
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Pre-Season: Walsall 0 Aston Villa 4

Here is our Match Report from Wednesday evening's pre-season clash between the Saddlers and Aston Villa.
Arriving at the match in the back of a narrow defeat to Patrick Viera's Crystal Palace, the recently-rebuilt Walsall squad were looking to add more match minutes as they continued to prepare for the upcoming Sky Bet League Two campaign.

Both managers, Walsall's Matthew Taylor and Villa assistant Craig Shakespeare - who was deputising for Dean Smith who had been forced to self-isolate - named competitive line-ups for a match which was to be played in somewhat sweltering conditions.

Villa started the game brightly and almost opened their account with under a minute on the clock as goalkeeper Jack Rose struggled to grab hold of Matty Cash's low drive, with the ball eventually going wide of the post.

Cash was soon involved again as he prevented an Emmanuel Osadebe cross from reaching A.Trialist, the Trialist family surely very proud as their lad gets a run out in front of the Saddlers faithful...

Walsall soon created a clearer goal-scoring opportunity, as summer signing Brendan Kiernan was able to beat Dominic Revan for pace before reaching the ball ahead of goalkeeper Jed Steer. Sadly the winger was unable to open the scoring however, as his effort went over the bar, despite having an open goal to aim at.

The visitors were back on the attack just a few moments after Kiernan's effort as Ollie Watkins battled for the ball before finding Anwar El Ghazi who subsequently picked out a free Jacob Ramsey who saw an effort saved.

With fifteen minutes on the clock, Rose was back in action as the troublesome Cash sent a dangerous cross into the Walsall box, where El Ghazi was able to get on the end of the looping ball before forcing a fine save from the Saddlers stopper.

Jack wasn't done there as he remained alert to prevent Watkins from opening the scoring, this time his feet were the method of choice. Liam Kinsella was also alert to the danger as he thwarted Ramsey, who was looking to slam the ball home.

Sadly, Jack and his backline weren't able to thwart the visitors forever as Emiliano Buendía found Watkins with a defence-splitting pass before the former Brentford man rounded the 'keeper and slotted the ball home, although not without Manny Monthé's last-ditch efforts to stop it on the line.

Buendía was soon causing more trouble as be picked out Ramsey on the edge of the box, but the youngster wasn't able to find the target as his effort was blocked for a corner.

The flag kick didn't produce another goal either, as Cash collected the ball on the edge of the box before breaking inside and seeing an effort rise over the crossbar.

The second goal of the game came in similar fashion to the first as Buendía and Watkins combined to see the latter slot the ball into the bottom corner, a promising partnership developing between the two, at least for those of a Villan persuasion.

Walsall boss Matthew Taylor made a double change at half-time, with Carl Rushwoth and Rollin taking the places of Jack Rose and Manny Monthé.
The visitors made a whole host of changes at the break as they look to boost fitness ahead of the upcoming 2021/22 Premier League campaign.

Their line-up featured Steer, Guilbert, Bogarde, Hause, Chrisene, A.Ramsey, Hourihane, McGinn, Davis, Wesley, and Philogene-Bidace.

Villa almost added a third goal just a moment into the second forty-five as substitute Keinan Davis chased a long ball before finding Jaden Philogene-Bidace in space, his fellow sub seeing an effort blocked before Wesley's follow up was also scuppered.

Continuing their strong start to the half, Villa forced on-loan Brighton goalkeeper Carl Rushworth into a save via John McGinn's shot after the stopper have flapped at a cross from the corner.

The visitors were soon rewarded for their pressure as Davis, Wesley, and Philogene-Bidace linked up again with the latter going on to slot home making it a comfortable three-goal lead for his side.

Villa added a fourth goal shortly before the hour mark as Aaron Ramsey opened his account for the evening, another neat finish, although not the best defending in the world.

Walsall made another change shortly after Villa had secured their fourth as A.Trialist replaced B.Trialist, another proud moment for Mr and Mrs Trialist and all of their extended family...

Just a few minutes after their single swap the Saddlers made a few more as Sam Perry, Joe Foulkes, Tom Leak, Zak Mills, and Joe Willis replaced Stephen Ward, Emmanuel Osadebe, Joss Labadie, Ash Taylor, and Hayden White.

After a spell with very little in the way of goal-scoring action, the Saddlers made yet another change as Brendan Kiernan was replaced by first-year pro Danny Coogan.

A scrappy second-half as the visitors added to their lead, with Walsall not offering enough to pose a real threat to their opponents.

Watkins (26')
Watkins (38')
Philogene-Bidace (51')
A.Ramsey (58')
Banks's Stadium
Steve Martin
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