Youth Alliance: Walsall 1 Rochdale 4 Youth Alliance: Walsall 1 Rochdale 4

Youth Alliance: Walsall 1 Rochdale 4

The young Saddlers were back in alliance action on Saturday morning.
Walsall Under-18s returned to action on Saturday morning as they welcomed Rochdale to Ray Hall Lane for their latest EFL Youth Alliance outing of the season.

After suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat to Preston North End in midweek, the young Saddlers were back in action as they looked to earn an all-too-rare win at the expense of a Rochdale side that thrashed Accrington Stanley 5-2 in their most recent game.

Walsall named a side packed with both scholars and apprentices with Ollie Nash handed a full debut as Cailen Beckford was a late withdrawal, Ollie's fellow Under-15 Ellis Harris made the bench as the Academy continues to produce young prospects.

WALSALL TEAM
Kilroy; Bennett, Roberts, Preece, Straw, Wilkes, Nash, Thomas, Teesdale, Wragg, Leydon
Substitutes: Barber; Webb, Etheridge, Harris

Despite their recent form, the Saddlers sitting at the foot of the alliance table ahead of kick-off, it was they who would take the lead as Jaiy Leydon showed plenty of composure to slip the ball into the bottom corner of the goal with thirteen minutes on the clock.

Sadly for the young Reds, their lead didn't last as the home side not only levelled the scores before the half-time break but went on to grab another three goals in the second forty-five to give themselves a comfortable win.

Rochdale didn't have all of the game their own way as Saddlers stopper Jenson Kilroy, who was later replaced by Harrison Barber, produced a fine save to deny them a fifth goal late in the game as he denied them from the spot, Kilroy doing well to remain focused after such a difficult half.

Walsall rang the changes as the contest progressed with the aforementioned Harris coming on for Charlie Wragg midway through the second half, as Kobe Wilkes made way for Louie Webb at the break as well as Marley Roberts being replaced by Will Etheridge.

The scoreline didn't give Walsall the justice they deserved as they were only denied a few more goals of their own by the faintest of margins, with goalscorer Leydon rattling the bar before the break before Dylan Thomas hit the post later in the game.

Another defeat for the young Saddlers, but, once again, plenty of positives to build upon, not least the debuts of another couple of youngsters who, even at such a young age, have taken a huge step in their journey to the professional ranks.

FULL-TIME
WALSALL 1-4 ROCHDALE
LEYDON (13')
AT RAY HALL LANE
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