Pre-Season: Walsall 0 Crystal Palace 1 Pre-Season: Walsall 0 Crystal Palace 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Pre-Season: Walsall 0 Crystal Palace 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's pre-season clash between Walsall and Crystal Palace.
The match represented the first time for Saddlers fans to see their new-look team in action as new Head Coach Matthew Taylor led his side into action in front of a small crowd at Banks's Stadium.

The visitors started the match in feisty form and were the first to draw a save as on-loan Brighton stopper Carl Rushworth was called into action via Wilfried Zaha's shot on goal.

There was plenty of play in midfield for much of the rest of the half, although neither side created much of note, other than Jordan Ayew sending an effort over the bar from the edge of the 18-yard box.

With six minutes of the half remaining, the ever troublesome Zaha did well to create some space on the edge of the area and sent an effort towards the bottom corner of Rushworth's goal, but the stopper was more than capable of making a save.

Sadly for the Saddlers, they weren't able to keep the scores tied until half-time, as Robert Street and Zaha linked up well before the latter was able to slot the ball home to put the Eagles one ahead at the break.

The Saddlers made two changes at the break, as A.Trialist and Jack Rose took to the field, replacing Emmanuel Osadebe and Carl Rushworth.
The visitors made a complete change with Butland, Banks, Boateng, Hannan, O'Brien, Kirby, Wells-Morrison, Rak-Sakyi, Kymani-Gordon, Quick, and Steele coming on in place of the starting eleven.
The first effort of the half came the way of the Saddlers as following a neat Kieran Phillips pass, Rory Holden was able to find space for a shot, sadly his effort was blocked as Palace retained their narrow lead.

The visitors were soon back on the attack and saw an effort of their own thwarted as Scott Banks tested Jack Rose's reflexes, with the former Southampton stopper more than equal to the task.

With just over an hour on the clock, Matthew Taylor made a trio of changes as Tom Leak, Sam Perry, and Manny Monthe came on in place of Ash Taylor, Stephen Ward, and Rollin Menayese.

Despite the changes, it was the visitors who had the next chance on goal as Jesurun Rak-Sakyi forced Rose into a save, the stopper using his legs to thwart the attacker. A follow-up was lashed over the bar.

The Saddlers soon looked back to their bench as Hayden White is replaced by first-year pro Joe Foulkes in defence. The gaffer keen to consider all of his options on this hot Saturday afternoon in WS1.

A little later, Ronan Maher came on to replace Rory Holden in attack, Ronan looking to add to the goal he scored against Leamington earlier this pre-season.

Palace then joined Walsall in their game of musical chairs with a double change of their own, with Gordon and Mateta replacing Wells-Morrison and Steele.

Annoyed by their opponent's change, the Saddlers hit back with one of their own, as Brendan Kiernan is replaced by player/ coach Mat Sadler in defence.

The Saddlers continued in their search of an equaliser and went ever-so close as Maher's neat ball over the top found Phillips in space, with the young striker able to round his marker before firing an effort off the bar.

That's where the match ended, a good fitness exercise for both sides in a sweltering Banks's Stadium.

Zaha (41')
Banks's Stadium
Josh Smith
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