MATCH REPORT | Bury 3 Walsall 3

On Saturday afternoon the Saddlers travelled to Gigg Lane and took on Bury 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 Gigg Lane and took on Bury in the latest Sky Bet League One fixture of the season. We were in attendance, and our match report is below.

Jacob Mellis got the game underway and the hosts wasted no time in working the ball forwards, with Hallam Hope able to find his way past his man, but Adam Chambers was alert and able to clear the danger. Moments later, a Bury corner saw Tom Pope in at the back post, but Neil Etheridge was on hand to clear the effort off the line. The match getting off to a high tempo start.

Four minutes in, the Saddlers created their first chance of the game, as a shot from Erhun Oztumer was deflected into the path of the on-rushing Isaiah Osbourne, but the midfielder side-footed his effort wide. The tempo cooled a little as both teams enjoyed time on the ball without creating any further real chances.

As we approached the quarter hour mark, James Vaughan created space, turning his marker, before firing an effort goal-wards, but his effort didn't trouble Etheridge in the Walsall goal as it sailed wide of the right-hand upright. Moments later, having worked the ball back to the other end, Oztumer was felled by Cameron Burgess, gifting the Saddlers a free-kick in a dangerous position. Oztumer took the set-piece, swinging the ball in from the right, but Bury 'keeper, Rob Lainton was able to palm the ball behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

In the twenty second minute, the hosts found the breakthrough, as a beautifully weighted cross from Pope was tapped in by Vaughan. Two minutes later, Bury almost doubled their advantage as Hope worked his way into the box before shooting, but James O'Connor was on hand to block the effort. O'Connor was involved again a couple of minutes later, putting the ball out for a corner to the hosts, under pressure from Vaughan. Thankfully for the Saddlers, Bury were unable to capitalise and the corner came to nothing.

As we reached the half hour mark, the hosts tested Etheridge, as Reece Brown crossed to Pope who got a decent effort away. The Walsall 'keeper was alert and saved, before then being called upon again to block again as Pope followed up from the rebound.

In the thirty eighth minute, Cameron Burgess picked up the first yellow card of the match after bringing down Amadou Bakayoko. Moments later, the Saddlers called Lainton into action, as a back-heel from Oztumer set Bakayoko through on goal, but the Bury 'keeper was equal to the low effort and pushed the ball away. Lainton was again called into action in the forty fourth minute to deny Joe Edwards, whose lofted twenty yard chip was directed straight at the waiting 'keeper.

On the brink of half-time, the hosts were awarded a free-kick thirty five yards from goal. Brown took the set-piece and fired an effort straight over Etheridge and into the back of the net, with a little help from the goalpost. A disappointing end to the half for the Saddlers, who had struggled to move the ball themselves, but looked to have limited their livelier opponents to just the one goal.


Walsall got the second half underway, but it was Bury who saw the first real action of the half as, in the forty ninth minute, Hope fired a curling effort goal-wards. The shot didn't trouble Etheridge as it cleared the bar. Moments later, a break from Florent Cuvelier down the left, set the Saddlers away. Cuvelier crossed the ball in to the near post but Bury captain, Antony Kay read the ball well and cleared the danger for his side.

Hope went down injured in the fifty third minute, forcing a break in play as he received treatment. He was eventually able to continue and the match got back underway.

In the fifty ninth minute, Matt Preston became the second man booked, for dragging Pope back. Two minutes later, the Saddlers won a corner, which was swung in by Oztumer. Preston picked up the ball and fired an effort in, but Vaughan was well placed and cleared off the line, as far as Osbourne, who drew a spectacular save from Lainton.

Sixty three minutes in, the hosts were awarded a free-kick, which Brown swung in towards the near post, but the Saddlers defences were able to clear the danger. Bury were quick to win the ball back and launch another attack, but Etheridge pulled off a superb one-handed save to deny Hope, whose right-footed volley looked to be dipping in.

Bury were awarded a free-kick in the sixty ninth minute as Etheridge handled the ball outside his area. Fortunately the referee declined to book him, and the Saddlers were able to deal with the set-piece. Moments later, at the other end, Brown was not so fortunate as he was shown a yellow card for bringing down Osbourne, gifting the Saddlers a free-kick twenty yards from goal. Oztumer took the set-piece and curled a left-footed shot through the wall and into the bottom corner, to pull a goal back for his team.

Immediately after the goal, the Saddlers bench opted to make their first change of the afternoon, introducing Simeon Jackson in place of Florent Cuvelier. Bury also took the opportunity to make a change, as Tom Pope made way for George Miller.

In the seventy sixth minute, Jason McCarthy drew the sides level, as he picked up the ball from a Bakayoko cross and drilled a low ball past Lainton at the near post. Three minutes after finding the equaliser, McCarthy headed home an Osbourne right-wing cross to give his side a three-two lead. The comeback appearing to be complete.

In the eighty second minute, the Bury bench opted to make a double substitution as they set about seeking an equaliser. Jacob Mellis and Hallam Hope were the men to make way as Ryan Lowe and Jermaine Pennant came on. The hosts were unable to create much in the following minutes as the Saddlers looked to hold on to their narrow lead, and in the eighty sixth minute, the Walsall bench made a change of their own, with George Dobson coming on in place of Erhun Oztumer.

Four additional minutes were added at the end of the ninety, and one minute into them, the hosts found their third goal to tie the game, as Tom Soares poked home a Brown cross from close range. The final minutes were a quieter affair, with both sides appearing content to share the spoils.

A much improved performance from the Saddlers in the second half, who on first half performance were lucky to take anything from the game. Though they may be disappointed not to have taken all three points late on, the result on balance was a fair one.

HT | 2-0
GOALS | Vaughan (22'), Brown (45') Soares (90+1') - Oztumer (71'), McCarthy (76', 79')
ATTENDANCE | 3,280 (448 Walsall)
REFEREE | Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)

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