Youth Alliance: Walsall 1 Preston North End 6 Youth Alliance: Walsall 1 Preston North End 6

Youth Alliance: Walsall 1 Preston North End 6

The young Saddlers were looking to secure an all-too-rare win.
Walsall Under-18s returned to action on Saturday morning as they played host to Preston North End in their latest EFL Youth Alliance outing of the season.

After suffering a disappointing 5-1 defeat to Morecambe last weekend, Ben King's Saddlers were hoping to do a little better as they welcomed Preston to Ray Hall Lane.

WALSALL TEAM
Kilroy; Cox, Owen, Angafor, Francis, Sawyers, Thomas, Rubio, Leydon, Onabirekhanlen, Toor
Substitutes: Shaw, Uchenna, Poskitt, Cristofaro, Chakki

PRESTON NORTH END TEAM
Hogarth; Seary, Pasiek, Kamara, Wallbank, Best, Eccleston, Pemberton, Cross-Adair, Nelson, Rodriguez-Gentile

Substitutes: Davis, McGhee, Taylor, Mawene, Carroll
 
The visitors started the game on the front foot and saw a Rio Pemberton effort saved with just four minutes on the clock, Walsall stopper Jensen Kilroy doing well to thwart the onrushing striker.

North End's next opening came via the head of Finlay Cross-Adair, who was only prevented from scoring by an alert defender who did enough to divert the effort over the bar.

Jensen Kilroy was kept busy with sixteen-year-old Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile looking to close the gap on goal following a neat passage of play, Kilroy was ultimately able to block the effort and retain his clean sheet.

Not long after producing a fine save to deny Kian Best from a free-kick, Kilroy's goal was put under major threat as the visitors were awarded a penalty. And, despite all his hard work, the stoppers sheet was dirtied as Cross-Adair did the honours from the spot.

Buoyed by their lead, the visitors went on to extend it just moments later as Kacper Pasiek got on the end of Josh Seary's through ball before slotting the ball into the back of the net.

North End were forced into an early substitution midway through the first-half as Kian Best was replaced by Cole McGhee.

The third goal of the game didn't arrive until ten minutes before half-time, but it was worth the wait as Noah Rubio slammed the ball beyond Preston goalkeeper Ryan Hogarth from distance, the stopper simply unable to deny Noah his goal.

Sadly, for the Saddlers Preston were able to reestablish their two-goal lead on the stroke of half-time as one of the Walsall defenders slipped the ball into their own net following a scramble inside the area.

HALF-TIME
WALSALL 1-3 PRESTON NORTH END

Walsall made a change at the break with Will Uchenna replacing Arjun Toor, as the young Saddlers went in search of a couple of goals to get the game back on level terms.

The Saddlers substitution did little to ease the visitors' momentum as, with around four minutes played, Ethan Eccleston got his name in the scoresheet, the striker getting on the end of a Cross-Adair pass before slipping the ball home.

Ben King opted to make a triple substitution with Rio Sawyers, Marvellous Onabirekhanlen, and Noah Rubio being replaced by Jack Shaw, Antonio Cristofaro, and Zak Poskitt, whilst Preston's second substitution of the match saw Kitt Nelson make way for Theo Carroll.

The Walsall changes made little difference to the direction of the game as Preston went on to add a fifth goal via Kacper Pasiek, who saw an effort go in off the far post from a fairly tight angle, his second goal of the game.

Walsall went close to grabbing another goal of their own but were thwarted by Lilywhites stopper Hogarth saving from a free-kick before being alert to the rebound and producing another fine save.

The Saddlers' next action was to make another change as Dylan Thomas made way for Linton Chakki as Kayden Kamara made way for Kian Taylor for the opposition.

Once again, the Walsall change wasn't enough to sure-up the Saddlers as Preston were soon able to extend their already comfortable lead to five goals as second-half substitute Carroll got on the end of a Pemberton cross to head the ball home.

Another disappointing defeat for the young Saddlers who continue to toil at the bottom of the table with plenty of difficult fixtures still to come.

FULL-TIME
WALSALL 1-6 PRESTON NORTH END
RUBIO (35')





CROSS-ADAIR [P] (18')
PASIEK (19')
OG (45+2')
ECCLESTON (49')
PASIEK (62')
CARROLL (84')
AT RAY HALL LANE
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