MATCH REPORT | Barnsley 3 Walsall 0
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MATCH REPORT | Barnsley 3 Walsall 0
MATCH REPORT | Barnsley 3 Walsall 0

MATCH REPORT | Barnsley 3 Walsall 0

On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall travelled to Oakwell and took on Barnsley in the First Leg of their Sky Bet League 1 Play-Offs Semi Final. You can read our match report below.
On Saturday afternoon, Jon Whitney's Walsall travelled to Oakwell and took on Barnsley in the First Leg of their Sky Bet League 1 Play-Offs Semi Final. You can read our match report below.

Walsall got us underway, though within a minute of kick-off, Barnsley had dispossessed the visitors and broken up-field with the ball. The Saddlers defence dealt with the danger, but looked a little nervous as a few sloppy passes allowed the hosts the best of the early play.

Five minutes in, with the Saddlers still struggling to settle into the game, Barnsley went close, as Lloyd Isgrove broke down the right. His cross flashed straight across goal, just evading Winnall and Hammill, who were waiting in the box, and found it's way out for a goal-kick.

As we approached the quarter hour mark, Barnsley went close again, a superb shot from Isgrove from the edge of the area, drawing a one-handed save from Etheridge, who tipped the ball over the bar. Alfie Mawson got his head to the ball from the resulting corner, but could only find the waiting Walsall 'keeper.

Etheridge played the ball quickly following the save, allowing Walsall to break; the Saddlers midfield doing well to hold play up long enough to allow players time to get forward, where Tom Bradshaw sent in the Saddlers first real shot of the game, firing straight at Adam Davies in the Tykes goal.

Twenty-two minutes in, it appeared that Barnsley had found the breakthrough, Isgrove finding the back of the net as he got on the end of a lovely Hammill delivery. Fortunately for the Saddlers, he was deemed to have been in an offside position and the goal was disallowed. It did, however, appear that it probably should have stood. Unlucky for the hosts.

As we approached the half hour mark, Walsall won a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Anthony Forde took. His powerful shot from twenty yards, drew a fine one-handed save from Davies.

Moments later, with the ball back at the other end, the Walsall defence were tested. James O'Connor timing a tackle well, to deny Sam Winnall a chance to shoot. The ball fell kindly to Josh Scowen, who sent a low drive in, which Etheridge was easily able to gather.

Five minutes later, Walsall were awarded another free-kick, twenty-five yards out. Demetriou took the kick, but fired well over Davies' bar.

Ten minutes before the break, Etheridge was called into action, as a long throw from Roberts allowed Mawson to send a headed shot goal-wards. The Walsall 'keeper was alert and held the ball well.

A few moments later, a Barnsley corner, taken by Hourihane, drew another save from Etheridge, who did well to gather and clear the danger. Decisive work from the young 'keeper.

The Saddlers almost took the lead five minutes before half-time, as Lalkovic set up Bradshaw, who miscued, sending a tame effort wide of the far post.

As we approached the break, Barnsley saw a second goal disallowed, as Winnall found the top corner with a stunning strike from an off-side position. Within two minutes, Barnsley did find the opening goal of the afternoon, as Winnall, again involved, cut the ball back to Hammill whose shot deflected off Demetriou and found the back of the net.

A very disappointing end to the half for the Saddlers, who must have hoped to go in level at the break, but a deserved lead for the hosts.


After  a short delay, as fourth official Mark Duncan was replaced by Darren England, who apparently needed time to find a pair of boots, the hosts got us back underway for the second half.

The second half started at a frenetic pace, seeing end to end action. The hosts the first to press, as Fletcher chased forwards and won his team a corner, which Hourihane took. The Saddlers cleared the danger and broke with the ball, eventually winning a corner of their own, which was dealt with by the Tykes defence. Barnsley broke themselves from the Walsall corner, and a long, but greedy run from Isgrove saw him draw a superb save from Etheridge. The Saddlers broke quickly again, and Lalkovic was denied an equaliser by the legs of Davies.

Eight minutes into the half, we saw a much sought second goal, as Winnall fired a shot in from outside the area, the ball deflecting off O'Connor and flying over Etheridge, who could do nothing to prevent Barnsley increasing their lead.

Within two minutes, the hosts had found a third, as Winnall carved his way through the Saddlers defence and fired a left-footed shot into the back of the net. A disappointing few minutes for the Saddlers who started the half brightly, and seemed to have shaken off the early nerves.

On the hour mark, the Saddlers coaches made their first change of the day, introducing Sam Mantom in place of Kieron Morris.

The hosts continued to press, though with a little less intensity, and with little over twenty minutes to play they looked to be in again as Fletcher latched on to a flick from Winnall. Etheridge was alert and able to gather. That was the last of the days action for Winnall, who was replaced by Ivan Toney.

Barnsley went close to finding a fourth shortly after the change, but luckily for the Saddlers, Hammill couldn't quite connect with the ball and the danger was cleared.

Walsall made their second change of the day, as Bradshaw made way for Jordy Hiwula, moments before Forde went close to pulling a goal back for the Saddlers, the ball in ultimately just going wide.

The Saddlers continued to press as they sought a route back into the game, but Davies was on form and pulled off an excellent move, coming out early to prevent an on-rushing Hiwula getting a shot in. Moments later, Mantom did get a shot away but blazed the ball over the cross-bar.

Barnsley made their second change of the day, with little over ten minutes to play, as Aidy White took to the field in place of Ashley Fletcher. The hosts making a change to their formation as they looked to keep their three-nil lead intact.

With eight minutes remaining for the Saddlers to grab a goal back, they won another free-kick in a dangerous area as Mawson was punished for a foul. Unfortunately for the Saddlers the kick came to nothing.

Both teams made their final changes with little over five minutes of the game remaining. Walsall replacing Milan Lalkovic with Jordan Cook as Barnsley replaced Lloyd Isgrove with Harry Chapman.

The final few minutes of the game were a tame affair, and despite four minutes of added time, the Saddlers were unable to find a goal of their own, and will head back to the Banks's Stadium with a three goal deficit to overturn.

GOALS | Demetriou OG (45'), Winnall (54' & 55')
ATTENDANCE | 16,051 (2,093 Walsall)
REFEREE | Mr. Peter Bankes | Merseyside

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