Solihull Moors 0 Walsall 5 - Report and pictures
New look Walsall turned on the style as they comprehensively beat Solihull Moors in a 5-0 friendly win on Saturday.
Two goals from Erhun Oztumer and Amadou Bakayoko as well as a Florent Cuvelier strike saw the Saddlers run riot at Damson Park.
Following a close season dominated by departures – including that of star striker Tom Bradshaw this week - Walsall fans got to see their new-look team for the first time.
And the score line together with their manner of the performance will give supporters a big lift with just three weeks remaining until the start of the new campaign.
On an immaculate surface, Walsall exerted their superiority from the off, with Whitney's men racing into a two-goal lead inside 10 minutes.
First, Oztumer netted his first for the club as he calmly found the corner after being slipped through by Cuvelier.
Moments later Bakyoko made it two when the striker converted from the spot after initially being seized down by Moors' keeper Nathan Vaughan.
Whitney's men were enjoying complete control, with Oztumer and Cuvelier showing lots of silky touches and youngsters Kory Roberts and Mazir Kouhyar holding their own.
And they extended their lead further midway through the half when a net one-two between Bakayoko and Cuvelier saw the striker get to the byline.
The 20-year-old then delivered a low cut-back which was smashed home by Oztumer for his second of the game.
Solihull, who were crowned champions of the National League North last season, registered their first shot on target when Ryan Beswick tried an audacious chip from 30-yards which Neil Etheridge comfortably claimed.
But it was Walsall who were controlling proceedings and they made it 4-0 just before the break when Cuvelier latched onto Oztumer's pass.
The Belgian midfielder burst past his marker with a mixture of power and pace before firing low past the out-stretched arms of Vaughan.
Whitney made nine changes are the break with the likes of Kieron Morris, James O'Connor and Isaiah Osbourne entering the fray.
But it was the hosts who started the second half brightly with Marcus Bignot's side enjoying a spell of possession around the Saddlers box.
And they came close to pulling a goal back when Akwasi Asante's strike deflected off James O'Connor and sailed inches wide.
Walsall's team now a had a much more youthful look with Will Shorrock, Cameron Peters and Callum Cockerill-Mollett all gaining some valuable first team experience.
And the Saddlers made it five with a little under 10 minutes remaining when Jordan Sangha's shot was blocked by a defender's hand.
Again the referee pointed to the spot with Bakayoko once again keeping his composure to fire past the keeper.
Walsall first half team: Etheridge, Edwards, McCarthy, Roberts, Henry, Chambers, Dobson, Kouhyar, Oztumer, Cuvelier Bakayoko
Walsall second half team: MacGillivray, Kinsella, Preston, O'Connor, Cockerill-Mollett, Dobson (Peters 63), Osbourne, Sangha, Shorrock, Morris, Bakayoko
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