Walsall 1 Birmingham 1 - Report and pictures
Amadou Bakayoko's third penalty in two games saw Walsall earn a 1-1 draw against Birmingham City in an entertaining friendly.
In front of 3,301 fans at the Bank's Stadium, Jon Whitney's men were more than a match for their Championship opponents.
Bakayoko opened the scoring in the second half after new signing Erhun Oztumer had been hauled down in the box by Paul Caddis.
But the Blues defender went on to make up for his error, curling home a free-kick with 10-minutes remaining to ensure the spoils were shared.
Birmingham, who were watched by boss Gary Rowett, included a mixture of first team and youth players in their side with the Blues also playing a friendly with Shrewsbury the same evening.
Amongst the notable regulars were defender Michael Morrison, midfielder Stephen Gleeson and striker Clayton Donaldson.
For Whitney's Walsall, there was a first start for Isaiah Osbourne – now a trialist – after the midfielder signed last year but failed to make an appearance following a knee ligament injury.
In glorious sunshine, both teams enjoyed a bright opening 20 minutes with the Saddlers in particular passing the ball around well.
It was Birmingham though who created the game's first chances with Reece Brown curling over from 25-yards and then Craig MacGillivray expertly dealing with a fierce Viv Solomon-Otabor free-kick from wide on the left.
Walsall were looking equally lively with Erhun Oztumer and Florent Cuvelier particularly bright.
And they registered their first shot on target with 10 minutes of the half remaining. Amadou Bakayoko and Kieron Morris linked up well before the winger stung the palms of Tomasz Kuszczak.
The rest of opening 45 minutes past with little incident with the Saddlers having comfortably held their own against their Championship opponents.
Walsall made a change at the break at with Maz Kouhyar replacing Cuvelier. It was Blues though almost opened the scoring inside 60 seconds.
Donaldson did well to control a hopeful ball into the box with the striker then nipping past a defender before powerfully firing a half-volley over.
Moments later, Whitney's men found themselves ahead following a bizarre piece of defending from Birmingham's Paul Caddis.
The former Swindon man received the ball in the box and looked destined to clear but instead allowed the ball to roll across his body, letting Oztumer nip in.
But before the creative schemer got to the ball he was hauled down by the defender - with Bakayoko then calmly slotting home from the spot.
With 20 minutes remaining Whitney switched Osbourne, Oztumer, Joe Edwards, Jason McCarthy, and Adam Chambers for George Dobson, Will Shorrock, Liam Kinsella, Matt Preston and Jordan Sangha.
Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Kory Roberts, Cameron Peters and Sam Tonks were then introduced with Whitney having made 10 changes to his side – with only keeper MacGillivray remaining.
With Walsall now effectively playing their youth team, Birmingham pulled level in the 80th minute when Caddis made up for his earlier error by curling in a free-kick from inside the 'D'.
The visitors went in search of a winner but Walsall's inexperienced youngsters held firm to keep them at bay.
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