MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Barnsley 3 (AGG: 1-6)
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MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Barnsley 3 (AGG: 1-6)
MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Barnsley 3 (AGG: 1-6)

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Barnsley 3 (AGG: 1-6)

On Thursday evening, Jon Whitney's Walsall played host to Barnsley in the Second Leg of their Sky Bet League 1 Play-Offs Semi Final. You can read our match report below.
On Thursday evening, Jon Whitney's Walsall played host to Barnsley in the Second Leg of their Sky Bet League 1 Play-Offs Semi Final. You can read our match report below.

The visitors got us underway and enjoying much of the early possession. After five relatively quiet minutes they got the first shot of the match away as Adam Hammill made a run from midfield and curled a shot straight at Neil Etheridge. An easy save for the Walsall 'keeper.

Two minutes after the first on-target effort, Barnsley went close as Sam Winnall saw his cross deflected out of play, earning the Tykes a corner. The ball in from Conor Hourihane found Alfie Mawson in front of goal, but he headed wide. Unlucky for the visitors, who looked certain to score.

Twelve minutes in, Hammill became the first man added to the referee's notebook for felling Tom Bradshaw on the edge of the area. Andy Taylor took the resulting free-kick, and curled a left-footed shot high over the bar.

Walsall continued to threaten the Barnsley goal, and soon won a corner. Mantom sent a lovely ball in, but Mawson was able to clear the danger with a powerful header.

Eighteen minutes in, Barnsley opened the scoring, a lovely ball into the box from Hourihane falling at Hammill's feet; he controlled well and slotted a right-footed shot past Etheridge, effectively putting the game to bed.

Etheridge was called into action again moments later, as Hourihane and Brownhill combined well, almost causing O'Connor to put the ball in the back of his own net. Luckily the Saddler's shot-stopper was alert and prevented the own goal.

A superb run from Jordy Hiwula resulted in the ball being deflected for a corner, as he looked to put in a cross. Mantom swung the ball in, but it fell kindly for Adam Davies who gathered well. The Barnsley 'keeper looked to have pulled something in the process and there was a short delay as he received treatement. He was soon back up on his feet though and the match continued.

Shortly before the twenty-five minute mark, Hammill fired a right-footed effort wide of goal from the edge of the area, allowing the Saddlers to regain possession and work their way up-field, where Bradshaw found himself one-on-one with Davies, but he scuffed his shot and the Tykes 'keeper cleared the danger. The ball fell to Rico Henry, who crossed it back in, allowing Hiwula to get a shot away, but his effort went wide.

Back at the other end, a cross from Fletcher was blocked, winning a corner for the visitors. Hourihane crossed the ball in, but Etheridge was alert and claimed the ball in the air.

Two minutes later, Etheridge was again called into action as the visitors won a free-kick in a dangerous position, allowing Hourihane to cross the ball in again. Winnall got his head to the ball, but the Saddler's 'keeper was alert and kept the ball out with a superb save.

It wasn't long before the Saddlers worked the ball back upfield, calling Davies into action, to execute a fine, one-handed, save of his own, as a Romaine Sawyers cross was headed goalwards by Bradshaw. The 'keeper at full stretch to deny the Walsall striker.

The chances kept coming as, back at the other end, Ashley Fletcher got on the end of a Lloyd Isgrove cross, turning the ball goalwards with his head. Luckily for the Saddlers his shot was aimed straight at Etheridge.

Again, the Walsall 'keeper kept his team, just about, in the game, as he saved a second Fletcher shot shortly after the first, this time following a cut back from Josh Scowen.

With little under ten minutes of the half remaining, it was Davies who was again called into action, as Walsall broke and Mantom set Sawyers away. Romaine's low driven shot was held by the Barnsley 'keeper at his near post.

After a hectic period of end-to-end action, the pace slowed as we headed towards the break. As two minutes were added, Paul Downing became the second player to recieve a caution, after bringing down Hammill.

The Saddlers trailed one-nil on the night, as the teams headed in for their half-time refreshments, leaving them much to do in the second half....


The Saddlers got the second half underway; the match re-starting in similarly quiet fashion to that which the first half ended in.

Seven minutes in, the visitors won a corner as a lovely run from Isgrove set Fletcher away. James O'Connor threw himself infront of Fletchers' goalbound shot, to deny Barnsley a second goal. The corner came to nothing, as the Saddler's cleared the danger temporarily.

Barnsley continued to press, Fletcher looking dangerous as he got on the end of a Hammill cross, firing a left-footed effort over the bar.

Moments later, a pass from Fletcher almost created an own goal, as Downing scrambled to clear the danger, turning the ball behind for a corner. The defender fortunate not to accidentally turn the ball into his own net.

The Saddlers almost found an equaliser shortly after the hour mark as Adam Chambers sent a shot in from twenty yards, which was turned wide by Davies. The resulting corner came to nothing.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, Walsall made their first change of the evening, replacing Andy Taylor with Jordan Cook as they looked to claw their way back into the game.

Three minutes after the change, the visitors put the game to bed as Fletcher fired a  powerful shot past Etheridge from close range. Barnsley now with a five goal aggregate advantage, leaving the Saddlers little to do but run down the clock on their season.

With twenty minutes to play, Barnsley opted to use two of their substitutions as they introduced Jak McCourt and Ivan Toney in place of Ashley Fletcher and Sam Winnall.

Walsall also opted to make their second change of the evening, as Milan Lalkovic took to the field in place of Jordy Hiwula.

Three minutes later, Barnsley made their third and final change as Adam Hammill made way for Harry Chapman.

The match continued at a slow pace, with neither 'keeper being troubled. Some good passing play on display from both teams though, but little intensity.

Seven minutes from time, the Saddlers made their final change of the campaign, as Anthony Forde replaced Tom Bradshaw, who looked like he may have picked up a knock.

Five minutes from time, Super-Sub Jordan Cook pulled a goal back for the Saddlers, curling a superb  right-footed shot into the top corner from twenty yards.

As we reached the ninety minute mark, a defensive mix-up allowed Josh Brownhill to turn the ball past Etheridge, putting his team three-one up on the night.

Four minutes were added, but with the outcome long decided, there was little further action and the match ended six-one to Barnsley on aggregate. The Saddlers missing out on a second trip to Wembley Stadium, as their remarkable season came to an end.

AGG | 1-6
GOALS | Cook (85') - Hammill (18'), Fletcher (66'), Brownhill (90')
ATTENDANCE | 8,022 (1,496 Barnsley)
REFEREE | Mr. Darren Deadman | Peterborough

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