Saturday, 27 August 2016

Saturday, 27 August 2016

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 3 Bury 3

On Saturday afternoon Jon Whitney's Saddlers played host to Bury in the latest fixture of the 2016/17 League One campaign. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report is below.
On Saturday afternoon Jon Whitney's Saddlers played host to Bury in the latest fixture of the 2016/17 League One campaign. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report is below.

Walsall got the action underway and gifted the visitors a free-kick within the opening minute, as Captain Adam Chambers, back in the starting line-up after missing three games with a hamstring injury, clipped Danny Mayor on the halfway line. The visitors did little with the free-kick, but they did win the first corner of the game a few minutes later, which they were also unable to make much use of.

With four minutes on the clock, Bury almost opened the scoring, as Zeli Ismail turned inside Joe Edwards and floated the ball into the area. Hallam Hope was in good position and almost got on the end of it, but ultimately was penalised for a high foot as the referee awarded the Saddlers a free-kick.

Walsall got the ball up to the other end quickly, and some neat work from Erhun Oztumer and Andreas Makris set up Kieron Morris, who opened the scoring, firing the ball high into the roof of the net from ten yards out.

The Shakers almost levelled the scores immediately as they got the ball forward from the re-start. Luckily for the Saddlers, James Vaughan's headed effort sailed narrowly wide of the goal. Kevin Toner applying just enough pressure to prevent the quick reply.

The Saddlers doubled their lead in the fourteenth minute as Oztumer picked up a loose ball, drove forward and fired a shot into the bottom corner from twenty five yards out. A superb piece of individual skill.

The visitors tried to respond quickly, and worked their way up-field, where Danny Mayor found space to let fly from the edge of the area. The powerful shot was directed straight at Neil Etheridge, who maintained the Saddlers lead. The Shakers continued to press, and twenty minutes in, Etheridge was again called into action, to prevent Hope finding the back of the net with a powerful right footed effort. The Walsall 'keeper able to get down and palm clear.

Moments later, Hope was again involved, as he sent a cross in from the left, to the back post. It was slightly over hit and just evaded Ismail who was waiting in the box, and safely trickled out for a goal kick. It wasn't long before the visitors had again worked the ball into a dangerous area again though, and this time Etheridge had to act, coming out quickly to smother the ball, preventing Vaughan getting on the end of a Mayor pass.

With twenty six minutes on the clock, Bury made their first change of the afternoon, as Nial Maher made way for Tom Pope. The visitors changing tactic in their persuit of a route back into the game. Shortly after the change, Walsall almost found a third, as the rain began to fall at the Banks's, but Oztumer's fierce left-footed effort from just outside the box was just wide of the mark.

The Walsall defences continued to stand firm as the Shakers sought a route back into the game with a deep cross from Greg Leigh finding Ismail, whose shot took a deflection before being turned behind by Etheridge. The resulting corner was taken by Ismail and cleared by the Saddler's defence.

The home team wasted little time in getting the ball back to the other end, where in the thirty second minute, Walsall further extended their lead. Simeon Jackson getting in ahead of Ben Williams to get on the end of a cross from Makris, to turn the ball home from close range.

As the rain continued to fall heavily on the Banks's Stadium, Walsall almost found a fourth. Ben Williams doing just enough in the Bury goal to deny Jackson, who was through on goal and took his shot a little too early, allowing the visiting 'keeper enough time to get down and make a one-handed save.

With little under ten minutes of the half remaining, the visitors were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position as Chambers bundled Mayor over. The free-kick was whipped in by Ismail, towards the top corner, but Etheridge was alert and tipped the ball over the crossbar. The Saddlers defence was able to quash any threat from the resulting corner.

Walsall were forced into a change just minutes before the break, as Isaiah Osbourne worryingly limped off the pitch, and on-loan West Ham United midfielder George Dobson took his place.

Three minutes were added at the end of the half, and but for a close range effort from Jackson, which drew a great save from Williams, neither side made much use of the final moments, before taking to the tunnel with the Saddlers three goals to the good.


Vaughan got the second half underway for Bury, who had opted to make their second change at the break, bringing on Jacob Mellis in place of Hope. The visitors were quick to get forward and the Saddlers were lucky not to concede two minutes into the half as Etheridge did just enough to tip Vaughan's cross over the bar. The Saddlers were less fortunate from the resulting corner, and just three minutes into the second half, Leon Barnett smashed the ball home from close range.

Moments after the Shakers goal, Joe Edwards picked up the first booking of the afternoon for pulling back Ismail, gifting the visitors a free-kick in the process. The visitors found their second of the afternoon before five minutes of the half had been played, as Vaughan fired past Etheridge from twelve yards on his Bury debut.

Three-nil down at the break, and only one goal behind five minutes after the re-start, the visitors set about finding an equaliser. Etheridge was forced to get down low to save from Mayor. The Walsall 'keeper able to hold the ball, allowing his team a moment to regroup. It wasn't long before Bury had regained possession though and launched another attack, as Pope knocked the ball down to Vaughan, who fired just over the bar.

Having briefly regained possession, Walsall attempted to counter. Oztumer found himself with space to shoot from the edge of the area, but he couldn't connect cleanly and he didn't trouble Williams.

Bury were quick to get the ball back to the other end as they continued to seek an equaliser, and Ismail's cross picked out Pope who headed straight at Etheridge. Walsall countered again from the goal-kick, but Williams was alert in the Bury goal to deny Jackson at the near post.

With an hour played, Walsall made their second change of the game as Makris made way for Amadou Bakayoko.

Moments after the change, Bury captain, Antony Kay, almost drew his side level as he flicked the ball over his head before volleying goal-wards. The Saddlers defence just doing enough to block the effort. The Walsall defences were then called into action again to block an effort from Mayor, before Dobson was booked for tripping Ismail on the edge of the area. With sixty five minutes on the clock, Vaughan also found his name being added to the referee's notebook as he picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Liam Kinsella.

As we reached the sixty sixth minute, Bury found their much sought equaliser as Jason McCarthy attempted to head clear a Craig Jones cross, which fell kindly to Mayor who fired home from twelve yards, before picking up a booking for his celebration. Three minutes after drawing level, the visitors almost took the lead, as Vaughan's half-volley flashed a fraction over the bar.

With quarter of an hour still to play, the Saddlers made their third and final change of the afternoon, as Oztumer left the field to be replaced by Maz Kouhyar.

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure as we headed into the final ten minutes, but the Saddlers were still keen break, as both sides sought a winner. With eight minutes remaining, the hosts got the ball forward through Kouhyar, who picked out Jackson whose shot trickled tamely into the Williams waiting arms.

With five minutes remaining, Vaughan saw an effort deflected behind. Ismail took the resulting corner and crossed in to the back post where Etheridge claimed under heavy pressure. The hosts lucky to remain level.

With just three minutes of normal time remaining, the Saddlers broke. Kouhyar went down in the box as he was challenged by Mayor, but the referee waved away appeals for a penalty. Moments later, the hosts were awarded a free-kick, some twenty five yards out. Morris drew a superb save from Williams as the 'keeper was forced to palm away the free-kick.

As we reached the final minute of normal time, Etheridge did just enough to tip Vaughan's shot around the post, and out for a corner, which came to nothing. Four minutes were added, as Mellis won his side another corner, which was cleared by a busy Saddler's defence.

Bury made their final change of the afternoon in injury time, as Ismail made way for Anthony Dudley, whilst Vaughan received treatment from the Shakers physio. There was little further action as both sides seemed to settle for the draw, and an eventful afternoon ended with both sides taking a point away. Bury surely the happier of the two teams, coming back from three-nil down.

GOALS | Morris (6'), Oztumer (14'), Jackson (32') - Barnett (47'), Vaughan (49'), Mayor (66')
ATTENDANCE | 4,393 (310 Bury)
REFEREE | Seb Stockbridge | (Tyne & Wear)

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