Youth Alliance Cup: Walsall 4 Bolton Wanderers 2 Youth Alliance Cup: Walsall 4 Bolton Wanderers 2

Youth Alliance Cup: Walsall 4 Bolton Wanderers 2

Here is our latest look at the Saddlers' Under-18s as they played their first cup game of the season.
Welcoming Bolton Wanderers Under-18s to Ray Hall Lane for an EFL Youth Alliance Cup clash, Walsall were hoping to cause something of an upset and earn their first win of the new campaign.

After losing their three opening Youth Alliance games, the cup meeting provided the young Saddlers with an opportunity to reset and hopefully enter an improved performance against a Bolton side which had made several changes from their most recent outing.

Barrett; Poskitt, Roberts, Bennett, Lawal-Olumegbon, Cox, Juliff, Preece, Uchenna, Thomas, Leydon

Substitutes: Kilroy; Straw, Jones, Beckford, Wragg

Barlow; Pinto, Smith, Grayson, Hogan, Irwin, Westwood, Lawrence, Abimbola, Fleury, Graham

Substitutes: Toole, Oliver, Leigh, Lweis, Shakespear
Played in sweltering conditions, the match was something of a slow burner with the two teams creating a handful of minor openings without truly testing the opposition goalkeeper, though George Barrett did well to make the save when Trotters man Leo Graham had an effort from inside the box.

The first goal of the game didn't arrive until first-half stoppage time as Jaiy Leydon got on the end of Piers Juliff's superb cross to head the ball past Bolton goalkeeper George Barlow and into the back of the net.

Walsall would double their lead early in the second half as Leydon grabbed his second goal of the game following some positive play from Will Uchenna, who was able to slip the ball through to Jaiy who happily slotted the ball home.

Bolton didn't allow the game to get away from them as, with around an hour on the clock, Daeshon Lawrence and Emile Oliver linked up nicely before Lawrence was able to put the ball beyond George Barrett and over the line to cut Walsall's lead in half.

The Saddlers would react to the goal by making their first changes of the contest with Piers Juliff and Will Uchenna being replaced by Charlie Wragg and Cailen Beckford.

Jaiy Leydon continued his impactful performance later in the half as he played a part in the Saddlers' third goal with the attacker finding Jackson Preece in space with the young midfielder going on to restore his side's two-goal lead.

Walsall's fourth goal arrived six minutes after their third and it was the ever-active Leydon who was on hand to place the ball home, sealing his hat-trick in the process, a superb day for the young prospect.

Keen to keep things fresh, the Saddlers went on to make their third change of the afternoon with Cayden Bennett making way for Ollie Jones.

Despite their deficit, the visitors wouldn't allow Walsall to feel too comfortable and went on to cut their hosts' lead with around ten minutes of the contest remaining as Sean Hogan’s long-distance shot was initially saved by Barrett but the rebound fell into the path of second-half substitute Yestin Shakespear, who made no mistake in slotting the ball past a stranded Saddlers stopper.

With the clock steadily ticking towards full-time, Walsall went on to make another change as Man of the Match Jaiy Leydon was replaced by Stan Straw.

There were no further changes, nor goals, as Walsall deservedly took the win and with it three welcome points.

LEYDON (45'+3)
LEYDON (50')
PREECE (66')
LEYDON (72')

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