FA Youth Cup: Grimsby Town 4 Walsall 0 FA Youth Cup: Grimsby Town 4 Walsall 0

FA Youth Cup: Grimsby Town 4 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from the young Saddlers' FA Youth Cup clash with Grimsby Town.
Walsall Under-18s returned to action on Tuesday evening as they made the trip to Blundell Park where they were to face Grimsby Town in the First Round (proper) of this season's FA Youth Challenge Cup.

After struggling for form over the opening three months of the season, the young Saddlers were able to reach Tuesday's game on the back of both a promising performance and a victory as goals from Antonio Cristofaro and Marvellous Onabirekhanlen secured victory over Morecambe at the weekend.

Walsall kicked off the game and started brightly as they looked probed the home defence for an opening, possibly the best effort of note saw Welsh youth international Jack Shaw send a curling effort past Declyn Dennis' post.

Just moments after Shaw's strike, the Mariners' 'keeper was almost exposed by his backline once again as Alex Markham's poor clearance rebounded over the bar after deflecting off the back of an attacking player.

The Saddlers continued to push for the game's opening goal and went close as they reached the midway point of the first-half as Ronan Maher's corner was met by Dan Baldwin, though his header wasn't enough to open the scoring as the home 'keeper made the save.

Despite their dominance, the Saddlers went on to concede the first goal of the game as Louis Boyd popped the ball into the back of the net following Harry Milner's superb showing of wing play.

Milner almost went on to grab a goal of his own a couple of minutes later as he forced Walsall stopper, Jenson Kilroy, into a superb save, the Saddlers a little slow to react to their opponents' attacking move.

Walsall soon resumed their search for a goal and went close to leveling the scores through attacking midfielder Ronan Maher, who fizzed an effort over the bar as the 'keeper launched himself in the direction of the ball.

Maher's mission continued and he was soon able to force Dennis into a save as he once again found space for a shot, though the 'keeper was able to deny him by using his feet to block the ball.

Frustratingly for the Saddlers their opponents were soon able to grab the second goal of the game as Milner was rewarded for some alert play as he was sent in one-on-one with the Walsall 'keeper where he made no mistake as he doubled his side's lead.


Walsall made a change before the second-half got underway as second-year scholar Arjun Toor was replaced by Jonas Mukuna in attack.

The home side were on the front-foot at the beginning of the half as first-half goal scorer Milner looked to add a second to his tally as he cut inside his man before the ball wouldn't quite settle for a shot on goal.

The Saddlers' first effort of the half went the way of substitute Mukuna as he forced the home goalkeeper into a save with a low, driven shot.

Walsall's task was made that little bit harder a few minutes later as Grimsby were awarded a penalty after a Milner effort caught the hand of a Saddlers defender, giving the referee little choice but to point to the spot.

Will Hodgson was the man to step up and take the penalty, as he got the better of Kilroy as the stopper went the wrong way as the ball hit the back of the net.

Both teams continued to look for space in attack with minor openings going the way of Maher, who saw the 'keeper gather at his feet, before Shakeel Brown fired wide for the home side.

Grimsby should have made it four-nil shortly after the hour mark as, after his teammates had done well to capitalise upon a bit of sloppy defending, Boyd could only slot wide from close range.

In a bid to add some experience to the line-up the Saddlers made another two changes, with Charlie Ward and Dylan Thomas making way for second-year scholars Samim Sarvari and Antonio Cristofaro.

Walsall forward Mukuna, who is still finding his feet after spending several months without a club, was the next Saddler to try his luck as he forced a save following a strong run inside his man.

Unfortunately, Walsall's endeavours showed no sign of paying off as the home side added a fourth goal via Milner's sweetly-struck effort which went across the 'keeper and into the bottom corner of his net.

Ronan Maher continued his high-energy performance as he was the next Saddler to force the 'keeper into a save as he looked to score what would likely be a mere consolation goal as Walsall seemed to be heading out of the FA Youth Cup at the first time of asking.

Despite their comfortable lead, the home side didn't have an easy evening of it as Mukuna forced Dennis into another save with a swinging shot. Though, the 'keeper was equal to the effort.

Grimsby were soon back on the attack and were adamant they should have had a second spot kick as Milner went down under a heavy challenge, but referee Mathew Wright saw nothing in it and ignored their pleas.

Walsall looked to capitalise upon their opponents' non-penalty winning issues and saw a swift counter-attack quelled by Moore, who was forced to put over his own crossbar to end the move.

The home side looked to further extend their lead towards the latter stages of the half as Brown forced Kilroy into a save with a well-placed free-kick, the young stopper was more than equal to the effort.

There were no further goals, or efforts of note, as Walsall Under-18s were knocked out of this season's FA Youth Challenge Cup by four-goals-to-nil, a disappointing result, especially on the back of such a promising performance at the weekend.

BOYD (24')
MILNER (38')
HODGSON [P] (53')
MILNER (71')

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