Youth Alliance: Walsall 0 Blackpool 3 Youth Alliance: Walsall 0 Blackpool 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Youth Alliance: Walsall 0 Blackpool 3

Here is our update from the young Saddlers' EFL Youth Alliance clash with Blackpool.
Walsall Under-18s returned to action on Saturday morning as they played host to Blackpool Under-18s at the Birmingham County FA headquarters on Ray Hall Lane in Great Barr.

After being knocked out of the FA Youth Cup and losing in the EFL Youth Alliance cup in the space of a week, the young Saddlers were looking to return to winning ways as they welcomed the Seasiders to the region.

Hedge; Angafor, Lawal-Olumegbon, Cox, Shaw, Cristofaro, Sawyers, Ward, Sarvari, Toor, Mukuna
Substitutes: Barrett; Poskitt, Uchenna, Willock, Welsh

Bardsley; Donkor, Hill, Nyame, Opawole, Amadi-Emina, Hassan, Byron, Bowen, Ahmed, Hughes
Substitutes: Spinelli, Bjork, Abdiu, Findlow, King-Phillips
After the players and officials observed a minute's silence ahead of Remembrance Sunday, the match got off to something of a slow start, with both teams looking to move the ball around in a bit to expose a gap in their opponents' defence.

The first real opening of the game didn't arrive until the thirteenth minute as Blackpool's Harvey Hughes sent a dangerous ball across the Walsall backline following a short corner routine. Sadly for the Seasiders, the resulting header was no threat to Zach Hedge as the ball drifted wide.

Buoyed by their effort, the visitors went on to grab the first goal of the game some four minutes later as central defender Johnson Opawole smashed the ball home following some neat play from Jibran Ahmed.

The visitors continued to control the lion's share of the attacking play with the likes of Hughes and Taylor Bowen forcing Hedge into saves, the former producing a strong stop, whilst Bowen's was somewhat tamer in comparison.

Blackpool's next opening arrived a couple of minutes past the half-hour mark as Luke Byron's deft flick sent the ball inches past the post, the effort coming following Tyler Hill's low cross.

Josh Nyame also saw an effort fail to hit the target as he and his teammates were once again afforded too much room in the final third, something which has plagued the young Saddlers for much of the season so far.

Whilst Seasiders stopper Harvey Bardsley was eventually forced into a save later in the half, the visitors had enjoyed a good forty-five minutes, giving their manager plenty of positives to discuss during the half-time break.


The second-half was also a slow starter, though a goal did eventually arrive as Danai Hassan doubled the Blackpool lead as he slotted the ball int the bottom corner following Jibran Ahmed's driving run.

With the game drifting away, Walsall went on to make a double change as Arjun Toor and Antonio Cristofaro were replaced by Levi Walsh and Shay Willock.

The visitors went close to adding a third as Hassan found space before sending a strong effort wide of Hedge's goal, something of a shot across the Saddlers' bows.

Blackpool's search for a third goal was ultimately rewarded as Luke Byron smashed the ball home from thirty-or-so-yards, Walsall's defence once again offering too much room for their opponents' attacking line.

As the pace slowed, the biggest rivalry took place on the sidelines as the manager's traded substitutions with Walsall's response to a Blackpool double switch seeing a trio of changes as Charlie Ward, Samim Sarvari, and goalkeeper Zach Hedge were replaced by Will Uchenna, Zak Poskitt, and George Barrett.

Blackpool midfielder Hassan's tame cross was the next effort of note, his pass failing to find the head or feet of a teammate as the game continued to drift towards the full-time whistle.


HASSAN (57')
BYRON (69')
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