Posted by: Bescot Banter


On Saturday afternoon Walsall Football Club played host to Scunthorpe United in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. Bescot Banter columnist Scott Brotherton was unfortunate enough to be in attendance, and shares his match report below.
On Saturday afternoon Walsall Football Club played host to Scunthorpe United in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. Bescot Banter columnist Scott Brotherton was unfortunate enough to be in attendance, and shares his match report below.

Walsall at least ended their run of conceding very early in home games, and they looked the threatening side in the first 20 minutes.

Romaine Sawyers pinged a pacey ball in towards Tom Bradshaw who cleverly laid off for Anthony Forde whose shot whistled wide.

Forde followed that up by cutting inside from the right but he dragged another shot past the far post.

Jordan Cook then fired straight at keeper Sam Slocombe, and Bradshaw couldn't get a firm enough connection on Andy Taylor's cross to send the ball goalward.

A few minutes later Taylor's daisy-cutter was heading wide but could have gone anywhere after hitting a defender's trailing leg. Luckily for the Iron it didn't deviate too much and Slocombe could gather easily.

Right-back James O'Connor also had a rare shot from distance but the effort was always rising over the bar.

However, though they dominated the first spell of the match, a calamitous own goal gifted Scunthorpe an unlikely lead on 24 minutes.

A ball across the six-yard box didn't look too dangerous until James Chambers swung a boot at it, inadvertantly hammering the attempted clearance past Richard O'Donnell from close range.

Scunthorpe hadn't looked like a side that were unbeaten in ten but they were ahead without a single shot on target, which seemed to cause Saddlers heads to drop.

Poor defending meant O'Donnell had to save from defender Miguel Llera and the rebound was slotted home just as the linesman put his flag up. Walsall were lucky.

Scunny's on-loan Leicester striker Tom Hopper then had his shot blocked and scuffed a second for a goal kick, but the defenders were all over the place.

And they were two down when Mark Robins' new loan duo combined.

Norwich youngster Jacob Murphy got behind the defence far too easily and his low ball found Foxes man Hopper. Michael Cain's clubmate then finished under the goalkeeper for a goal on his debut.

The full-backs were having a torrid time. The Scunthorpe attackers were taking advantage of the lack of defensive back-up for O'Connor and Taylor and managed to fizz plenty of balls across the box.

Sawyers could have pulled one back just before half-time - the St. Kitts and Nevis forward lashed narrowly wide from 25 yards.

But it was another poor first-half performance from the hosts and United had looked like a different side after their breakthrough. Hopper and Paddy Madden had caused all sorts of problems - Dean Smith yet again had to pull something out of the bag for the second period.

 HT    WALSALL     0     SCUNTHORPE UNITED     2   

The Saddlers came out with more attacking intent and Forde's cross sat up for Cain but he sliced well off target from the edge of the area.

Up the other end Hopper got a header in but it was always going wide before Walsall's early pressure told as they pulled a goal back on 51 minutes.

Bradshaw showed good strength to hold up the ball and tee up Cain. The midfielder has chipped in with more attacking contributions recently, and he placed his effort right into the bottom corner.

It seemed to take Slocombe by surprise and was just out of his reach for Cain's second of the season.

The Leicester man rallied the crowd as he grabbed the ball and sprinted back to the centre circle.

As they hunted an equaliser Forde's corner found it's way through to Adam Chambers, but the captain took a swipe with his weaker foot and fired over.

The game was put to bed just after the hour though when Paul Downing pulled down Neal Bishop in the penalty area. Madden powered the spot kick down the middle and O'Donnell could do nothing about it.

The fourth came two minutes later. Hopper should never have won the header which he knocked down to Bishop. The striker then stretched and produced a good finish into the far corner of the net.

Whether it was just giving players a run out, or he felt his side could genuinely score three goals, Dean Smith brought on Reece Flanagan, Ashley Grimes and Mathieu Manset from the bench.

The Scunthorpe keeper was alert to stop Flanagan's deflected shot going out for a corner and Cain then ballooned an ambitious shot into the middle tier of the Tile Choice Stand.

In what looked like a 4-3-3 formation Grimes got involved too. He hit one wide and his brilliant near post header then forced an excellent reflex save from Slocombe.

Bradshaw was there too and cracked the rebound off the post as Walsall were unable to add some respectability to he score, despite piling the bodies forward.

 GOALS  Cain 51' - J.Chambers OG 24', Hopper 39', Madden (P) 63', Bishop 65' 
 ATTENDANCE  3,738 (318 Scunthorpe United) 
 REFEREE  Mr. Lee Collins (Surrey) 

  WALSALL   O'Donnell; O'Connor, J.Chambers, Downing, Taylor    ; Cain, A.Chambers    ; Cook (Flanagan 72'), Sawyers (Manset 77'), Forde (Grimes 72'); Bradshaw

  SUBS NOT USED   MacGillivray; Benning, Purkiss; Baxendale

  SCUNTHORPE UNITED   Slocombe, Davey, Llera, Boyce    , O'Neil, Williams (Nolan 84'), Bishop, Murphy (McAllister 58'), McSheffrey, Madden (Adelakun 80'), Hopper

  SUBS NOT USED   Weaver, Hawkridge, Canavan, Taylor
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