Youth Alliance: Walsall 4 Bolton Wanderers 3 Youth Alliance: Walsall 4 Bolton Wanderers 3
By: Bescot Banter •

Youth Alliance: Walsall 4 Bolton Wanderers 3

The young Saddlers were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they took on Bolton Wanderers.
Walsall Under-18s returned to action on Saturday as they played host to Bolton Wanderers in their latest EFL Youth Alliance - North West outing of the season.

Arriving at the match on the back of a welcome win over Salford City, just the young Saddlers' second win in the alliance so far this season, attention turned to the traveling Trotters and a chance to gain more much-needed points.

George Barrett; Tom Cox, Rio Sawyers, Kymani Hunter, Dan Baldwin, Jack Shaw, Antonio Cristofaro, Ronan Maher, Lucas Edwards, Zak Poskitt, Shay Willock

Jensen Kilroy; Rory Regan, Ryley Reynolds, Will Uchenna
The young Saddlers started the game on the front foot and, fresh off making his Wales Under-17s debut, defender Jack Shaw was soon thrust into the spotlight as he sent in a perfectly-placed corner towards the back post where Tom Cox was able to crash the ball home with his head with just three minutes played.

Walsall had to ride the storm from time to time but were not without goal-scoring opportunities of their own with Dan Baldwin going closest as he looked to capitalise upon some sloppy goalkeeping but could only find the side-netting with a headed effort.

Despite their issues at the back, the visitors were ultimately able to get themselves back on level terms, however, that arity didn't last too long as hot prospect Ronan Maher continued his superb season by putting his side back into the lead.

Maher, who has been a stand-out performer in a team that has struggled to find its feet, found space in the area where teammate Zak Poskitt was able to send in a perfectly weighted cross, as Maher tapped the ball over the line.


The Saddlers didn't begin the second-half the way they started the first as, after surviving calls for a penalty - the referee awarding a free-kick on the edge of the area - the visitors once again got themselves back on level terms as the ball was sent into the back of the net from a well-worked corner.

Walsall once again had to weather the storm as, buoyed by their leveller, the visitors went in search of a potentially match-winning goal, with Saddlers stopper George Barrett having to pull off a fine save to keep his side on level terms.

However, despite their opponents' pressure, it was Walsall who would go back into the lead as Ronan Maher got on the end of a superb defense-splitting pass to put the ball under the onrushing 'keeper to put the Saddlers ahead once again.

The visitors were soon back on the attack and forced Walsall behind the ball as they looked to get themselves back on level terms once again. However, the young Saddlers, who have been steadily improving over recent weeks, not only stood firm to deny their opponents but went on to grab another goal.

The Saddlers' fourth goal saw Ronan Maher involved once again as, following his corner, defender Tom Cox joined him in the brace club as he ended a spell of penalty area pinball by stabbing the ball home.

Unfortunately for the Saddlers, their two-goal lead lasted a matter of minutes as Bolton went straight up the other end and cut the deficit back to one goal. A disappointing way to celebrate Cox's goal as a lack of concentration saw the team swiftly punished.

There were no further goals as Walsall's form continued its steady improvement, with the youngsters once again demonstrating that they are more than capable of competing with the stronger teams in the Alliance.

Cox (3')
Maher (38')
Maher (64')
Cox (85')

Ray Hall Lane
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