MATCH REPORT | Sheffield United 2 Walsall 0×
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MATCH REPORT | Sheffield United 2 Walsall 0
 
MATCH REPORT | Sheffield United 2 Walsall 0
MATCH REPORT | Sheffield United 2 Walsall 0
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MATCH REPORT | Sheffield United 2 Walsall 0

5:43 pm Saturday, 2 April 2016
On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall travelled to Bramall Lane as they took on Sheffield 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 travelled to Bramall Lane as they took on Sheffield United in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. You can read our match report below.

The home team got us under way, with both teams employing a 3-5-2 formation to begin the match. Walsall quickly dispossessed the home team, and were soon dispossessed themselves, as a very tactical game unfolded.

Six minutes in, Sawyers sent Henry away down the left, but Henry's cross was too long and high to find it's intended target of Bradshaw. Good pressing play from the Saddlers though.

Two minutes later, Edgar sent a pass back to United 'keeper, Long, the ball just had enough on it to prevent Bradshaw getting to it.

A very cagey and uneventful opening fifteen minutes saw no real attacking threat, but some nice possession play from both teams, with Walsall enjoying slightly more time on the ball than their  opponents.

Just after the quarter hour mark, an excellent long kick from Neil Etheridge saw Tom Bradshaw almost get in on goal, but the Blades defence stood firm and cleared the danger, sending the ball out for a corner. Sam Mantom took the flag-kick, but it was easily cleared by United.

With seventeen minutes gone, we saw the first decent half chance at goal from either team. Paul Coutts found Che Adams in space, and with space to turn, he drilled a right-footed shot in from twenty-five yards. The ball sailed wide of Etheridge's post.

Twenty minutes in, the Blades physio was called into action to tend to Coutts who appeared to have picked up a head injury. He was fine to continue after brief treatment and as the match got back underway, Hammond handled the ball about thirty yards out, gifting Walsall a free-kick. The Saddlers were unable to make use of the opportunity, as the ball hit the ball and went out for a throw.

A few minutes later, a Ryan Flynn pass, set up Matt Done who drew an excellent, instinctive save from Etheridge. Shortly after the save, Pennington won a free-kick for the Saddlers, drawing a foul from the Blades skipper. The referee missed an obvious Coutts handball as the free-kick was blocked.

Shortly before the half-hour mark, United won their first corner. Done took the flag-kick, which was claimed confidently by Etheridge, before sending an impressive kick down the left, where Henry picked it up and won a free-kick as he was clattered by McEveley. The free-kick was cleared easily by David Edgar.

Moments later, the home side opened the scoring  as Done whipped an excellent cross from the left across the six yard box, which was headed home by Basham at the far post.

Walsall responded to the goal with their first effort on target, Sam Mantom sending a right-footed drive straight at the waiting Long, from twenty five yards out.

Just six minutes after they took the lead, the Blades doubled their advantage. Basham again involved, as he aimed a cross at Flynn, but instead found Billy Sharp, who controlled the ball with his chest before firing past Etheridge. Nothing the Walsall 'keeper could do to stop the powerful shot.

The Blades were close to further extending their lead minutes later, but Downing was alert to the danger and intercepted Sharp's cross which looked to be bound for Adams who would have had an easy job to tap it home.

United continued to dominate as half-time approached, and almost found a third when Basham sent the ball narrowly wide of the post from thirty yards out.

Two minutes were added, but the Saddlers defence held firm through the final few moments of the half, preventing any further damage to the scoreline and the teams left the field with Walsall trailing two-goals-to-nil at the break.

SKY BET LEAGUE 1 | HALF TIME
SHEFFIELD UNITED 2 WALSALL 0

Walsall opted to make their first substitution as the match got back under way, replacing a quiet Reece Flanagan with Jordy Hiwula.

After a quiet start to the half, the Blades had another opportunity to extend their lead, as a Coutts cross was headed away by Pennington, the ball only clearing as far as Basham, whose dipping volley from the edge of the box sailed over the bar.

With fifty five minutes on the clock, we saw the first booking of the afternoon as Dean Hammond was added to the referees book for a pull on the shorts of Adam Chambers.

Moments later, the Saddlers won a corner, which Taylor took, his cross fell to Bradshaw but Long was alert and did enough to smoother his effort. A huge chance to get back into the game wasted.

The Blades opted to make their first change of the game shortly before the hour mark, replacing Alex Baptiste, who appeared to be carrying an injury, with Harrison McGahey.

With just over an hour played, the Blades won a free-kick on the edge of the area as Adams was felled. Coutts stepped up to take the kick, but could only find the wall. United won a second free-kick moments later, this time by the corner flag, but Chambers defended well and put the ball out for a throw in, which was easily dealt with.

With little over twenty minutes to play, Tom Bradshaw saw a shot blocked, after a clever dummy by Hiwula set him up. Mantom got hold of the rebound, but his effort bobbled harmlessly through for Long to gather.

Matthew Pennington became the second player added to the referees book, with seventy minutes gone, following a late challenge on Che Adams.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Walsall rolled the dice, introducing Milan Lalkovic and Anthony Forde in place of Andy Taylor and Sam Mantom.

Etheridge was called into action shortly after the change, as McGahey skipped past Henry down the right. Luckily for the Saddlers he miss-hit his cross and the Walsall 'keeper was able to gather at his near post.

With ten minutes to go, Forde latched onto a Henry pass before dragging a tame shot wide from outside the box. Forde was again involved moments later as he stepped up to take a free-kick, which he sent into the wall.

With six minutes remaining, the referee added McEveley to his book, for a foul on Hiwula on the edge of the Blades box. The resulting free-kick was whipped in by Forde and just evaded Bradshaw at the back post.

As full time approached, United brought on Martyn Woolford in place of Matt Done, swiftly followed by Domonic Calvert-Lewin who came on in place of Che Adams, as the Blades sought to see out the game with their lead intact.

The referee added five minutes, which neither team made use of, and the whistle finally blew to signal the end to a drab Saddlers performance with Sheffield United winning by two-goals-to-nil and taking all three points.

SKY BET LEAGUE 1 | RESULT
SHEFFIELD UNITED 2 WALSALL 0
HALF TIME SCORE | 2-0
GOALS | Basham (31'), Sharp (36')
ATTENDANCE | 19,214 (1,072 Walsall)
REFEREE | Mr. Lee Swabey | Devon


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