MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Southend United 0 MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Southend United 0
Posted by: Bescot Banter

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Southend United 0

On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall played host to Southend United in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. Our match report is below.
On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall played host to Southend United in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. Our match report is below.

The Saddlers got us underway and immediately launched an attack, with Demetriou setting Sawyers away, Romaine's cross to the back post flew just wide of goal, but a bright start from the home side.

Southend launched an attack of their own as the match continued at a frantic pace, Atkinson stooping low to get on the end of a Leonard cross, he made glancing contact but was only able to head the ball wide wide.

Both Anthony Forde and Adam Chambers required early treatment, but were fit to continue and Forde was quickly back into the thick of things as he took the Saddlers first corner kick, which was easily cleared by the visitors.

Neil Etheridge was called into action a little over ten minutes in, as Worrall crossed the ball in from the right and Barnett, who did well to get infront of Pennington, headed the ball goal-wards. The Saddlers 'keeper was alert and saved well.

The Saddlers kept possession well from the goal kick and could have opened the scoring as  Rico Henry took the ball forward before sending a sweetly struck long-range effort just high and wide.

Within mere moments, United had a shot of their own from distance, with Leonard sending the ball high over Etheridge's bar from outside the area.  The visitors regained the ball quickly and Payne sent a shot in, a low drive from the right, which went wide of the near post.

With quarter of the game played, the Saddlers were awarded a free-kick twenty-five yards out, as Gary Deegan fouled Sawyers. Forde took the kick, but his shot sailed high over the bar without troubling Bentley. The Saddlers regained the ball quickly from the goal kick and Henry turned in a fine cross which was met by Forde with a stooping header, which sent the ball wide of goal.

The Saddlers piled on the pressure, with Sam Mantom sending in a fabulous effort from twenty-five yards, the first on target for the home side, which Bentley did well to push away and tip round the post. Forde played the resulting corner to Lalkovic who lost the ball temporarily as it was sent out for a Saddlers throw. Patient build-up play saw Walsall keep possession as they looked to create space. Demetriou eventually took the chance and sent a speculative effort inches wide of the top corner from thirty-five yards out.

Walsall continued to pepper the Southend goal. Forde sent in a wonderful corner kick, which Sawyers turned goalwards, forcing Deegan to clear off the line. Sawyers again found himself in possession within shooting range moments later, his curling effort from twenty yards went wide, but it wasn't long before Bentley was called into action again, as he was presented with a Lalkovic effort which he blocked well, before parrying a Sawyers strike.

The Saddlers looked in confident mood and looked certain to score as the ball fell to Hiwula, who drew another fine save from Bentley from point blank range, before regaining the ball and sending a follow-up shot over the bar. Walsall so unlucky not to have taken the lead.

Will Atkinson was the first man to find himself added to the referee's book, moments before McLaughlin went down requiring treatment for a knock. After a brief stoppage, McLaughlin was able to continue, but the break in play allowed the Blues to re-group and the match settled into a rather more sedate pace as we headed towards half-time.

Southend ended the half on the attack, as Payne drew a foul and won the visitors a free-kick, which was delivered into the box, before being cleared by Walsall as two additional minutes were confirmed. The scores remained level as the players headed for the tunnel.


Both teams remained unchanged as they took to the field for the second half. Southend got us back underway and went straight on the attack, but the Saddlers dispossessed the visitors quickly and launched an attack of their own. Bentley being called back into action as Hiwula shot at goal. The United 'keeper pulling off a fine save with his legs.

The ball came out to Forde who hit the post with his low struck shot, before Bentley was again called into action to deny Mantom, turning his shot behind at his near post. The visiting 'keeper in fine form to keep his team level.

The match settled a little after the frenetic start to the half and the tempo slowed as both teams attempted to patiently build an attack. With fifty-eight minutes on the clock, Forde found himself able to twist his way into the box with the ball and did well to create space for a shot, which he sent straight at the waiting Bentley.

With twenty minutes to play, Southend made their first change of the game, McLaughlin being replaced by McQueen.

Southend won a corner following the change, as Deegan's long range effort was tipped behind by Etheridge. The corner was a poor affair and McQueen saw his cross go behind for a goal kick.

With quarter of an hour to play, Walsall made their first change of the afternoon, as Morris came on to replace Lalkovic.

Two minutes after the Walsall change, and with a free-kick waiting for them, Southend made their second substitution as Hurst came on for Atkinson. Following the change, the Blues took their free-kick, McQueen receiving the ball on the edge of the box but seeing his shot smothered by Etheridge.

With ten minutes to play, Walsall were awarded a free-kick of their own as Deegan received a caution for a trip. Walsall made their second change as we waited for the free-kick to be taken, Mantom making way for Cook. Demetriou eventually took the free-kick but could only fire into the wall, allowing the visitors to break with Hurst's eventual shot falling kindly for the Walsall defence who were able to clear the danger.

Six minutes from time, the Saddlers ramped up the pressure again as Morris turned a shot in from a Forde corner, but the ball found it's way into the side netting.

The visitors made their final change of the afternoon as Barnett was replaced by Loza who made an immediate impact, putting the ball in the net, but only after the referee had already blown for a foul.

As we neared full-time, Bentley produced a magnificent one-handed save, tipping Morris' left-footed strike wide, to keep the visitors level.

The Southend 'keeper had a magnificent game, but two minutes from time the determined Saddlers finally found their breakthrough and took the lead, as Bentley was beaten at close range from a Forde corner.

Following the goal and a raft of second half substitutions, five minutes of additional time were awarded, as Southend were awarded a free-kick. Barrett drew a fantastic save from Etheridge, who kept the Saddlers slim lead intact.

The Saddlers left it late, but  through sheer persistence they claimed all three points and moved themselves to within three points of second placed Burton Albion. A fantastic result to top off a confident, attacking performance.

GOAL | Hiwula (88')
ATTENDANCE | 5,372 (428 Southend United)
REFEREE | Mr. Keith Hill | Hertfordshire
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