Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

MATCH REPORT | Gillingham 1 Walsall 1

On Tuesday evening Jon Whitney's Saddlers travelled South to take on Gillingham in the latest fixture of the 2016/17 League One campaign. We were in attendance,and you can read our match report below.
On Tuesday evening Jon Whitney's Saddlers travelled South to take on Gillingham in the latest fixture of the 2016/17 League One campaign. We were in attendance,and you can read our match report below.

Walsall got the match underway, but it was Gillingham who had the first chance of the game, winning a corner just two minutes in, which Bradley Dack took. The Saddlers cleared the corner well and Franck Moussa broke with the ball, playing in Erhun Oztumer who won a corner for his side. The hosts dealt with the Walsall corner easily and the match settled.

There was little real action following the opening couple of minutes, until the Gills won a free-kick close to the corner flag in the fifteenth minute. Dack swung the ball into the box, picking out Deji Oshilaja, who headed the ball just wide. Moments later, the home side saw another chance go begging as a Ryan Jackson throw in made it's way into the box and fell to Max Ehmer, whose shot from an acute angle was parried by Neil Etheridge. Ehmer's follow up effort was turned out for a corner, which was taken by Dack and cleared by the Saddlers defence.

In the twenty second minute, a foul on Cody McDonald twenty five yards from goal, gave the home side another shooting chance, as Dack played a short ball to Ehmer who was out wide. Ehmer curled an effort towards the Saddlers goal from the edge of the box, but his shot cleared the bar without troubling Etheridge.

The Gills opened the scoring twenty five minutes in, as a ball over the top from Deji Oshilaja fell to Scott Wagstaff, who crossed the ball to the far post where McDonald was waiting to head it home. There was a brief stoppage following the goal as Andreas Makris went down on the near touchline. After a brief spell of treatment he was able to continue.

Shortly after the half hour mark, a mistake from Oshilaja on the touchline gifted Kieron Morris a chance. He almost equalised with a left-footed shot from an acute angle, drawing a superb save from Gills 'keeper, Jonathon Bond, who parried the ball into the path of Oztumer, who fired a shot just wide from the edge of the box.

Walsall enjoyed a good spell of possession as we rapidly headed towards the break; ten minutes from the interval, James O'Connor fired a shot in from distance. The ball deflected off a fellow Saddler and went out for a goal-kick. The visitors regained possession quickly and launched another attack as they continued to push for an equaliser, Andreas Makris firing a shot in from the edge of the area, which was deflected by Chris Herd.

The hosts had a chance of their own moments later, as Jackson did well to get a cross into the box from a difficult angle following some lovely work from his teammates to get the ball up-field. Jackson's cross fell to Dack, who headed the ball straight into the waiting arms of Etheridge.

Five minutes before the break, Walsall won a corner as Wagstaff blocked a cross into the box. Morris swung a left-footed cross in from the flag, which Jake Hessenthaler did well to clear. The Gills regained possession following the clearance and won a free-kick at the other end, close to the corner flag. Dack crossed the ball into the box, but there was too much height on the ball for McDonald to get his head to it and Walsall part cleared. The ball was then headed back across the face of goal, where Adam Chambers was able to get a vital touch to deny McDonald a second.

One minute was added at the end of the first half, just as the referee brandished the first yellow card of the evening, booking Gillingham captain, Josh Wright, for a handball on the halfway line. The first half ended with the Gills leading by one-goal-to-nil.


The home side got us back underway for the second half following a change to their line-up, as Mark Byrne took to the field in place of Wagstaff. The hosts enjoyed much of the early possession and created the first chance of the half in the forty ninth minute as McDonald got on the end of a Dack cross, before heading inches wide.

Four minutes later, Walsall created their first chance of the half as Jason McCarthy crossed the ball into the box from the right-wing, where it was headed wide by Makris who should have done better.

With fifty nine minutes on the clock, Walsall levelled the score, as Bond parried a long-range Oztumer shot and Moussa reacted quickly to tap the ball home from close range. Buoyed by their goal, the Saddlers began to apply more pressure. A surging run from Oztumer almost created another chance moments after the goal, but he was unable to get his shot away. Oztumer was again involved seconds later as he saw his deflected cross fall to Makris at the back post. Makris just unable to keep his headed effort on target.

With sixty six minutes on the clock, the hosts made their second substitution of the evening, as Chris Herd was replaced by Billy Knott. The change was followed by a short delay as both Hessenthaler and Oztumer went down following a clash of heads. After a brief spell of treatment, both were able to continue and the match resumed.

As we headed into the final fifteen minutes of the game, the hosts saw another chance go begging as Oshilaja surged forward, playing in McDonald. Etheridge was alert and came out well to block the shot. Dack took the resulting corner, which was headed out by the Saddlers defence, gifting the Gills a second corner, which Dack also took. The ball was aimed at Ehmer, but the visiting defences beat him to the ball to extinguish the attack.

Two minutes later, the home side launched another attack as they sought to regain their lead. McDonald did well to regain possession, before working the ball to Hessenthaler who aimed a curling effort towards the top corner from twelve yards. The close-range effort sailed harmlessly over the bar and the sides remained level.

With ten minutes of the game still to play, James O'Connor was added to the referee's notebook following a foul on McDonald who was bundled over as he attempted to turn his man to go through on goal. The resulting free-kick, some twenty five yards out, was taken by Dack. Etheridge superbly pushed the effort onto the bar to prevent a goal and keep his side level.

Seven minutes from time, the Saddlers got forward as they sought to take a late lead. Makris won a free-kick for his team on the edge of the box. The free-kick was curled into the box and looked dangerous but Bond claimed confidently.

With just five minutes of ninety remaining, the Saddlers made their first and only change of the evening, as Franck Moussa made way for Josh Ginnelly.

Three minutes of additional time were added at the end of the regulation ninety, but there was little further action as both sides seemed happy to take a point away from a well contested match on a chilly October evening.

HT | 1-0
GOALS | McDonald (25') -- Moussa (59')
ATTENDANCE | 5,542 (108 Walsall)
REFEREE | Mr. Charles Breakspear

Don't forget, you can join us across social media, we're @BescotBanter on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.