Saturday, 20 August 2016

Saturday, 20 August 2016

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Charlton Athletic 2

On Saturday afternoon Jon Whitney's Saddlers played host to Charlton Athletic in the latest fixture of the 2016/17 League One campaign. Our match report is below.
On Saturday afternoon Jon Whitney's Saddlers played host to Charlton Athletic in the latest fixture of the 2016/17 League One campaign. Our match report is below.

Walsall got the action underway, but it was Charlton who looked more dangerous going forward early on. The match began at a slow tempo, but four minutes in, a decent move from from the visitors culminated in Ricky Holmes sending a low cross into the box. James O'Connor was alert and hacked the ball clear for a throw-in. Josh Magennis took the throw and launched the ball in from the right, but Neil Etheridge was able to claim.

With seven minutes on the clock, the Saddlers managed to work the ball forwards and Isaiah Osbourne won a corner for his team. The flag-kick evaded everyone waiting in the box and tamely found it's way out for a throw-in, which the Saddlers were not able to convert into a chance.

The home side began to get more into the game and offered more attacking threat. Ten minutes in, Franck Moussa sent in an effort from the edge of the box, but Declan Rudd was able to gather comfortably. Moments later, the Saddlers got the ball to Joe Edwards in the box, where he was dispossessed by Chris Solly. Moussa whipped in the resulting corner, but Simeon Jackson fouled Rudd as he went for the ball and Charlton were awarded a free-kick.

The visitors enjoyed another good spell of possession, with Holmes getting involved again as he played in Andrew Crofts, who fired an ambitious effort high over the bar from outside the box. Charlton won the ball back following the goal-kick and continued to press as Josh Magennis worked inside from the left and fired a low shot in from the edge of the box, straight at the Walsall 'keeper.

With quarter of an hour played, and the visitors continuing to attack, Matt Preston made a vital interception to deny Magennis who looked certain to score had he been able to get on the end of the cross from Nicky Ajose. Walsall cleared the danger and broke with the ball, Osbourne picking out Simeon Jackson with a lovely cross-field pass. Jackson fired a shot straight at Rudd who fumbled the save, allowing Andreas Makris an effort on goal, which he turned wide.

Some lovely work from Moussa earned his team another effort on goal as he picked out Osbourne with a lovely pass. Isaiah's cross-come-shot drew a decent save from Rudd, who pushed the ball away to clear the danger. Kieron picked up the loose ball and fired an effort in from long range, which was blocked.

Charlton launched an attack of their own, as they regained possession, Holmes sending a clever pass inside to Ajose, whose cross was picked up by Preston who cleared the immediate danger. Preston was able to make another important interception moments later, when Chris Solly played the ball in from the right, seeking to pick out Ajose in the middle. Some excellent defending on display.

Back at the other end, Moussa's ball across the box, was picked up by Jackson, who fired the ball goal-wards. Rudd was alert and able to save from point blank range. Morris then picked up the ball, his effort also saved by Rudd.

With half an hour on the clock, Charlton went close to opening the scoring, as Ajose found the crossbar from the edge of the area. A superb effort, which would have beaten Etheridge.  A big let off for the Saddlers.

The end to end action continued as Jason McCarthy worked his way inside, before unleashing a powerful effort goal-wards. The Charlton 'keeper able to gather at the second time of asking to deny the Walsall defender. Moments later, back at the other end, Holmes drew a save from Etheridge. Magennis picked up the rebound and fired wide, though he was offside in any event.

With four minutes of the half remaining, Holmes won his side a corner, which the Saddlers were unable to clear. The ball came back to Holmes who crossed the ball in, where Magennis headed it goal-wards and Ajose turned the ball home from close range.

One minute was added, but the teams left the field with the visitors leading one-goal-to-nil at the break.


The teams remained unchanged as the visitors got the second half underway. Charlton were close to finding a second early in the half, as a pass from Etheridge was intercepted by Solly, who fired the ball in. The Walsall 'keeper coming off his line to block the effort. Moments later, the visitors had another chance to extend their lead, as Magennis met a deep cross from Fox, but his headed effort looped just over the bar.

The Saddlers enjoyed a good spell of attack as they sought an equaliser. Moussa the first to send a shot in, but his powerful effort was blocked by Jason Pearce. Moments later, Morris fired a shot in, which Johnnie Jackson blocked, gifting the Saddlers a corner. Moussa again turned a shot in, which was deflected and Makris picked up the ball and headed a tame effort wide of goal. A good spell from the home team, but unable to find a way through the Addicks defences.

With fifty eight minutes on the clock, Charlton made their first change of the afternoon as Jackson made way for Ademola Lookman.

Five minutes later, and with little action in the intervening moments, the visitors made a change of their own, as Makris was replaced by Amadou Bakayoko up front. The young striker was quick to get involved in the action, as he got on the end of a George Dobson corner, to hook an effort over the bar.

In the sixty seventh minute, Solly became the first man to receive a yellow card as he was cautioned for a cynical foul on Bakayoko on the halfway line. A minute later, he was joined by O'Connor, who received a yellow card for a tug on the shirt of Magennis.

With twenty minutes remaining, Magennis got on the end of a cross from Fox, and headed an effort just wide of Etheridge's left-hand upright. Walsall were quick to get the ball back to the other end, where, with seventy two minutes on the clock, Morris fired home to level the scores. A lovely low, right-footed effort into the far corner from the edge of the box.

It took the visitors just two minutes to regain the lead, as Magennis broke into the box and crossed to Ajose who bundled the ball home at the far post.

With quarter of an hour to play, Walsall made their second change of the afternoon, bringing on Florent Cuvelier in place of Moussa. As the action resumed, following the change, Bakayoko fired a left-footed shot in, which Rudd got down to palm behind. He also saved the resulting corner to keep his sides lead intact.

With ten minutes of the game remaining, Charlton made their second change of the game, as Ricky Holmes was replaced by Tareiq Holmes-Dennis. Moments later, Walsall made their third and final change as Dobson made way for Erhun Oztumer, and just three minutes later, the Addicks made their final change of the afternoon as Patrick Bauer took to the field in place of Ajose.

The Saddlers continued to chase a second goal as the clock ticked down, but the visiting defence stood firm. The referee awarded five minutes of added time for them to find a second, and three minutes into added time, Morris went close to creating a chance with a cross in from the right, but Ezri Konsa was alert and cleared the danger.

Walsall continued to press as Edwards worked the ball into the area, where Cuvelier picked it up and volleyed just wide. Moments later, the Saddlers had another chance, as a ball in from Oztumer deflected off the referee, putting Edwards in on goal. Charlton's defence managed to scramble the ball clear to deny the home side a second equaliser.

The home team continued to seek out a second goal, right until the final seconds. Rudd doing enough to earn his team the full three points, as he pushed Jackson's last minute shot wide of the post. Another disappointing result for the Saddlers, who were unable to convert their chances.

GOALS | Morris (72') - Ajose (42' & 74')
ATTENDANCE | 4,586 (739 Charlton Athletic)
REFEREE | Christopher Sarginson | (Staffordshire)

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