With so much talk of Stale Solbakken’s progressive approach to football, the biggest irony of our Walsall procession was the first meaningful moment of it.
A big boot from De Vries, a defensive blunder and a big uncompromising forward making no mistake with a crisp finish.
Not the most dynamic of deadlock breakers, but probably the most appropriate for the uncompromising Championship world that lies in wait.
Being easy on the eye will never be a priority in the land of the ‘Leccy League, so Frank Nouble’s no-nonsense finish was as relevant as it was refreshing.
The big man’s all round display was the overriding highlight of the afternoon, reminding us of what we so sorely missed at times during last season’s debacle.
Strong, pacey and a handful at all times, Nouble must be in with a serious shout for our league opener at Leeds if continues to impress.
In an uneventful first half befitting of a pre-season friendly, we learnt little else apart from a potential role for Adam Hammill this season, if his little cameo – and Stale response to it – was anything to go by.
His goal came courtesy of another defensive error, but his appetite appeared to be whetted and he showed far more on the left side of midfield than Forde, who switched to left back when Elokobi went off injured.
Kightly played central, behind Nouble, and looked as lean and mean as I can remember in another encouraging sign.
With defensive midfield pair of Jonsson and Davis behind him, not to mention an unfit O’Hara, he wasn’t given much to go on, mind.
A raft of second half changes gave the game a lift, with more encouraging signs.
- Stephen Ward looked particularly impressive, setting up Doyle for the third
- Doyle looked more like his old self
- Roger Johnson looked committed to the cause and particularly vocal
In short, every player looked fit, healthy and more importantly happy.
With 20 days still left before the Leeds United curtain raiser, let’s hope they all stay that way!