Pre-season: Rushall Olympic 2 Walsall 1 - Report and pictures

By Joseph Masi | Walsall FC | Published:

A mystery striker was on target for Walsall as they kicked off pre-season with a 2-1 loss at Rushall Olympic.

The forward, who is rumoured to be Cypriot, fired in from 25-yards to pull the Saddlers level after they fell behind to a Justin Richards goal.

Walsall had two trialists in the game with former Wrexham youngster Olly Marx playing over an hour in central defence.

Dean Keates made a host of changes at half-time and throughout the match. But while the Saddlers improved after the break, the Pics were worthy of their victory.

The friendly – which Keates helped to arrange – saw Walsall donate all their gate receipts to the Southern League Premier Central side after they were target by thieves back in June.

Yobs ransacked the clubs home in Dales Lane causing £40,000 worth of damage. They also stole and wrote-off a £25,000 mini-bus.

Keates used the friendly as an opportunity to give all the members of his squad some match minutes with Marx the only man to start both halves.

But it was the Pics who proved the livelier of the teams in the opening half hour with Yusifu Ceesay seeing a strike from the edge of the box beaten away by Liam Roberts.

For Walsall, Zeli Ismail and George Dobson looked lively along with young right-back Luke Little who was making his first appearance for the senior side.


And they registered their first sight of goal when Andy Cook glanced a header wide following a dangerous Ismail cross.

It was Rushall though who had shown the most endeavour in the opening 45 minutes.

And they took the lead just before half-time when Richards poked home after good work in the box from Yusuf Ceesay.

The Walsall team that started the second-half proved more lively with Kieron Morris seeing a fierce drive from the edge of the box spilled by Joe Slinn.


The keeper then made a good save to tip away a Luke Leahy free-kick.

Rushall hit back though with Chris Dunn making a brilliant double stop to first deny Gurjit Singh and then Ashley Sammonds.

With 20 minutes remaining the Saddlers got themselves on terms when their trialist striker brushed off a challenge before firing in a low effort from 25-yards which Slinn really should have stopped.

It was the hosts who went on to grab the win though with Nicky Devlin firing into his own net in the closing stages after a dangerous Singh cross.


Walsall (first-half): L Roberts, Little, Marx, Guthrie, Cockerill-Mollett, Ismail (Hayles-Docherty 30), Kinsella, Dobson, Ginnelly (Parker 30), Cook, Candlin (Trialist 30).

Walsall (second-half): Dunn, Devlin, Marx (Leivesley 70), K Roberts, Leahy, Hayles-Docherty (Morris 57), Chambers, Sangha, Parker (Kouhyar 57), Bakayoko, Trialist (Peters 74) .

Rushall: Slinn, Smikle, Adelekan, Sauane, Hull, Townsend, Lund, Whittall, Richards, Maye, Ceesay.

Subs used: Hawker, Singh, Sammons (roll on roll off subs)

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.


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