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MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Colchester United 1
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MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Colchester United 1
MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Colchester United 1
MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Colchester United 1

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Colchester United 1

5:31 pm Saturday, 19 March 2016  
On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall played host to bottom-of-the-table side Colchester United in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. You can read our match report below.
On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall played host to bottom-of-the-table side Colchester United in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. You can read our match report below.

The Saddlers, who lost the toss and began the match kicking towards the Tile Choice stand, got us under way. Walsall showed a lot of attacking ambition in the opening few minutes, but it was Colchester who had the first attempt on goal, a right-footed Massey effort from twenty five yards, which went wide.

The visiting team won the first corner of the game with four minutes on the clock, as Mantom blocked a low drive from Lee. The corner was easily claimed by Etheridge.

The match was a very open affair and six minutes in, Sawyers found himself in possession on the edge of the area, he got a shot away, but it went well wide of Parish's near post.

Colchester were quick to regain possession and get the ball back to the other end, where Downing did well to get his head to a Massey cross to deny Lee a shot at goal. Porter's header from the resulting corner was cleared by Etheridge, as far as Leo Chambers who couldn't convert the rebound. The ball was eventually scrambled clear by the Saddlers defence.

Sixteen minutes in, Walsall were forced to make their first change of the afternoon. Hiwula had done well to take the ball past two defenders before being tripped on the edge of the area, the free-kick had to wait though as James O'Connor received treatment, before being replaced by Matt Preston.

Following the change, Taylor stepped up to take the free-kick, which he fired into the Colchester wall. The ball came back to Taylor and his shot was deflected just wide. The resulting corner came to nothing.

A few minutes later, a lovely run from Lee saw him pass between Demetriou and Sawyers into the box, where his scuffed shot was cleared wide. The resulting corner saw a Chambers half-volley parried by Etheridge, who was then able to gather the ball and avert the danger.

Shortly before the half hour mark, Hiwula demonstrated some lovely skill to retain possession before lifting a lovely pass to Henry, who sent in a shot from a very tight angle. Parish had it covered though and claimed the ball.

The following ten minutes was a fairly quiet affair, though Gilbey did find himself being added to the referees book and Moncur found space to carry the ball forward and get a shot in, it was a weak effort though and straight into the waiting 'keepers arms.

Colchester continued to enjoy a spell of possession, being given far too much room to play the passing game in midfield. Five minutes before half-time, they broke, with a man advantage. Porter able to get himself into the box, where Lee's shot was deflected wide.

Two minutes were added and moments before the interval, Colchester were able to make their possession pay, after forcing another corner. Garvan sent in a lovely cross from the flag-kick, which Gilbey decisively headed home past Etheridge. The Walsall 'keeper did well to get a hand to it, but it wasn't enough to keep it out and the U's took a deserved lead into the break.


The teams emerged unchanged after the break, and Colchester got us back under way, with the Saddlers kicking towards the away support. Walsall appeared to have changed formation for the second half, with three at the back, and quickly they were put to the test as Colchester went on a probing run towards the box. It came to nothing, but the visitors certainly showed that they weren't going to sit back on their lead.

The Walsall defences were again called into action when Porter looked to be in on goal. Matt Preston defending brilliantly to get back goal side and clear the danger.

Walsall won a throw in just shy of ten minutes into the half, which was thrown to Sawyers, who headed the ball straight back out of play. Very little going forward from the home team and the supporters and players alike seemed to be getting a little frustrated.

Just after the hour mark, Etheridge was called into action, saving from point blank range as Massey got on the end of a Moncur cross into the area. The Walsall shot stopper doing fantastically well to block the ball. The resulting corner was easily cleared.

With twenty five minutes to play, a slick passing move allowed Henry to send in a shot from thirty yards out. His strike cleared the bar by a yard, and signalled the end of his afternoon, as the Saddlers made their final changes of the day. Henry and Kinsella departing the field, as Kieron Morris and Milan Lalkovic were introduced into the game, signalling another change in formation for the Saddlers, as they rejigged into a 4-4-2.

Walsall enjoyed a brighter spell following the double substitution. They managed to draw a corner, which was easily cleared, before Sawyers and Morris combined well to set up Demetriou whose shot was straight at the waiting 'keeper. Good to see the ball being played forward by the home team, something which has been absent for much of the match.

Fifteen minutes from time, Colchester made their first change of the afternoon, Drey Wright replacing Elliot Lee.

Moments after the change, Sawyers joined Gilbey in the referee's book, following what appeared to be a 50-50 challenge.

With seventy eight minutes on the clock, Morris sent a left-footed shot well wide from outside the box, signalling another break in play as Colchester introduced Darren Ambrose in place of George Moncur.

A minute later, Colchester made their final change of the afternoon, replacing Chris Porter with Macauley Bonne. A little early in the day for time wasting.

Nine minutes from time, Neil Etheridge was again called into action as Gavin Massey raced down the right wing past Matt Preston. Etheridge was alert to the danger and smothered the shot.

Moments later, Lalkovic broke clear with the ball and was afforded time to delay his pass, allowing Hiwula to get into the box, but was miscued and sailed over the bar without testing Parish.

With seconds on the clock, a lovely flick from Preston set up Bradshaw, who side-stepped Kent and buried the ball emphatically into the roof of the net. Colchester wasted no time getting the ball back to the other end, seeking to regain their lead, but Ambrose shot was well wide of the mark and the scores remained level.

After a full quota of changes and the Saddlers equaliser, four minutes were added as Hiwula raced into the area before shooting wildly over the bar.

The teams looked to be taking a point apiece from the game, until seconds from time the Saddlers won a corner as Morris saw a shot deflected just wide. The corner looked to have been cleared as Parish saved Bradshaw's effort which was headed for the bottom corner, but the ball fell to Preston who slotted home from close range.

Neil Etheridge was booked in the final seconds, presumably for wasting time, but ultimately it didn't matter, as the Saddlers saw out the game and took all three points.

GOALS | Bradshaw (89') Preston (90+4') - Gilbey (45+1')
ATTENDANCE | 5,818 (134 Colchester United)
REFEREE | Mr. Andy Haines | Tyne & Wear

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