MATCH REPORT | Fleetwood Town 2 Walsall 1 MATCH REPORT | Fleetwood Town 2 Walsall 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

MATCH REPORT | Fleetwood Town 2 Walsall 1

On Saturday afternoon the Saddlers travelled to Highbury Stadium where they took on Fleetwood Town in the latest Sky Bet League One fixture of the season. We were in attendance, and our match report is below.
On Saturday afternoon the Saddlers travelled to Highbury Stadium where they took on Fleetwood Town in the latest Sky Bet League One fixture of the season. We were in attendance, and our match report is below.

Just after 3:00pm referee Rob Lewis blew his whistle and the home side got the game underway, and it was the Cod Army who saw the first action of the match as,following a nice spell of possession, David Ball claimed to be tripped inside the Saddlers' box, but the referee waved away the protests and awarded a goal kick.

The Saddlers first shot of the game was taken by Erhun Oztumer who had been fed the ball by an advanced Joe Edwards, The Turkish Messi could not make much of his effort as Fleetwood captain Nathan Pond got in the way of the shot.

Amadou Bakayoko earned the Saddlers the first corner of the match but he and his side failed to make use of it as Town broke down the other end of the pitch. Ashley Hunter combining with Ball to force Neil Etheridge into action.

Walsall captain Adam Chambers was issued with the first yellow card of the game, the veteran forcing the referee's hand with two late tackles.

The Saddlers soon won another corner, but failed to capitalise on it as James O'Connor's header was easily dealt with.

Fleetwood's Conor McLaughlin was the next player to receive a booking as he 'took one for the team', with the Saddlers looking dangerous on the counter.

After fifteen minutes of action the game began to settle down, though both sides still looked dangerous in advanced positions.

Etheridge was called into action after around twenty minutes of play as Amarii Bell unleashed a stinging effort from a George Glendon corner kick, which the 'keeper could only parry away.

The home side continued to attack the Saddlers goal as Cian Bolger glanced a header wide following another Glendon corner. Plenty of action as we reached the halfway point in the first half.

The teams began to cancel each other out as the half continued, with neither side able to create much of note, though the home side did enjoy good spells of possession.

With just over ten minutes of the first half remaining, Fleetwood's Ash Hunter dragged a shot well wide of Etheridge's goal, not the best use of the space afforded to him.

Walsall's Erhun Oztumer was the next to seek a goal as, following a mix-up at the back, he looked to chip Alex Cairns in the Fleetwood goal. Sadly his effort was far too weak and was easily gathered by the 'keeper.

Fleetwood opened the scoring with just a few minutes of the half remaining, as Kevin Toner played Joe Edwards into trouble with a weak pass, allowing Hunter to steal the ball, find space on the edge of the area and curl an effort past Etheridge.

That was the last real action of the half as the players and officials retreated into the dressing rooms.


Jon Whitney's Saddlers got the second half underway and it was the men in blue who had the first chance of the half as Oztumer lifted a superb pass in the direction of Amadou Bakayoko, but the Sierra Leone-born forward couldn't capitalise as Pond did well to block his effort and keep his side in the lead.

The Saddlers were awarded a corner following Baka's blocked effort, on-loan Southampton defender Jason McCarthy rose highest, but could only head over the bar.

Fleetwood went close to doubling their lead soon after as Ball's cross had to be cleared by Matt Preston, the young defender heading the ball away from under his own crossbar.

After ten minutes of the half, Walsall 'keeper Neil Etheridge produced a superb save to deny David Ball as he met a Hunter cross. Another save to add to the stopper's highlight reel as he continues to produce the goods between the sticks.

The match was soon back into a pattern similar to that of the first, with Fleetwood enjoying plenty of the ball but not creating many chances.

With sixty-five minutes played David Ball headed the ball well wide of goal following McLaughlin's cross, a disappointing effort for the home side as they failed to extend their lead.

Sadly for Walsall, it wouldn't take long before our hosts would double their lead as Bobby Grant was on and to pop the ball home as Etheridge failed to deal with Hunter's cross, the 'keeper only able to get a slight touch on the ball before it was dispatched into the back of the goal.

Walsall would soon make their first change of the game as on-loan Aston Villa defender Kevin Toner was replaced by Simeon Jackson, the manager looking to add to his attacking options as he hoped to get his side back into the match.

Fleetwood looked to slow the game down following their second goal, frustrating for Walsall, but to be expected as their hosts had all-but sealed the win.

With fifteen minutes of the match remaining, Fleetwood forward David Ball went close to grabbing a third goal for his side as he sent en effort inches past the post with Etheridge scrambling.

As the clock continued to tick down Walsall grabbed a goal via a surprise source as on-loan West Ham United midfielder George Dobson smashed the ball past Cairns from around twenty-five yards out, the 'keeper caught out as the youngster brought his side back into the match.

Following the goal, the home side made a double change as Ash Hunter and David Ball were replaced by Devante Cole and Chris Long.

With seven minutes of normal time remaining, goalscorer Bobby Grant looked to restore his side's two-goal cushion as he attempted to lob Etheridge, his effort was a poor one as it drifted over the bar.

It was a tense final few minutes as the home side frustrated the Saddlers. Walsall unable to string anything of value together. The manager sought to further boost his attacking power with moments of normal time remaining, as record signing Andreas Makris replaced Joe Edwards.

As we reached the ninetieth minute Chris Long almost extended his side's lead as he beat Adam Chambers but could only send a tame effort towards goal.

Fleetwood were forced into a late change as Kyle Dempsey was on the wrong end of a late challenge and had to be stretchered off the pitch with what looked to be a serious injury. Victor Nirennold was the man who came on in his place.

There were no further goals in the game, a disappointing result for Walsall as Fleetwood Town secure their first ever victory over Walsall.

Our thoughts go out to Kyle Dempsey, who suffered what appeared to be a severe injury during the closing stages of the game.

HT | 1-0
GOALS | Hunter (42'), Grant (67') - Dobson (76')
ATTENDANCE | 2,708 (358 Walsall)
REFEREE | Rob Lewis (Shrewsbury)
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