Halesowen Town 1-2 Walsall - Report
Football returned at The Grove last night as the Saddlers took on local non-league outfit Halesowen Town. With the first team concluding their pre-season tour to Trinidad and Tobago, Walsall`s squad was mainly comprised of youth team players along with a few familiar faces from last season and some trialists. Craig Westcarr and Romaine Sawyers featured, along with trialists, ex Hereford playmaker James McQuilkin, ex Doncaster striker Jordan Ball and Joel Purkiss (brother of Walsall full back Ben).
The first ten minutes were very much even on a bouncy and difficult surface however the saddlers soon took charge and created a variety of chances. The first coming on 18 minutes when an inviting Westcarr corner was headed narrowly wide by youth teamer Jordan Garner. 3 minutes later a cross field ball from the impressive Joel Purkiss led to a shot from the boot of Alex Reid however just going wide. The saddlers looked solid and continued their first half domination when good interplay between Sawyers and the lively Jordan Ball saw the later just fire wide. After good work by Westcarr on the by-line the ball fell to Purkiss who had an effort cleared off the line 5 minutes before the break.
HT: Halesowen Town 0-0 Walsall XI
The second half began much like the first, an even contest, however the hosts took the lead on 55 minutes after good work down the left hand side, the ball fell kindly to Ben Wellings who finished calmly past the approaching Shane Lewis in the saddlers goal. Walsall reacted in the best possible way when, 2 minutes later, a threatening run from Sawyers saw the ball pulled back to Jordan Ball who finished well and got to the visitors back on level terms. The saddlers nearly took the lead on 67 minutes when a teasing cross from Christopherou enabled the impressive Garner to make firm contact with a powering header however this was expertly saved from Sam Pearson in the Halesowen goal. Walsall made their possession count when Wes Rush, who looked lively since coming on, finished cooly under pressure on 72 minutes. The hosts never gave up and nearly got back onto level terms when Kyle Brady struck the post with a fierce effort, however Walsall saw the game out and took home a deserved pre-season friendly victory, to add to the unbeaten tour of Trinidad and Tobago.
FT :Halesowen Town 1-2 Walsall XI
Walsall: Lewis; Ashmore, Christopherou, Dallison (C), Garner; J. Purkiss, McQuilkin; Westcarr, Sawyers, Reid; Ball. Subs: Rush, Jones (GK), Kinsella, Bennett, Bakayoko, Probert.