MATCH REPORT | Walsall 3 Bradford City 3

Here is our match report from Saturday afternoon's League One clash between the Saddlers and Bantams.
Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they took on Bradford City at Banks's Stadium. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report below.

The match got off to a fairly uneventful but scrappy start. After a few poor challenges in the opening minutes, Charlie Wyke won his side a free-kick in a promising position in the third minute, but Shay McCartan's ball in could only find the wall and the Saddlers were able to clear.

The match continued, a rather scrappy encouter, with several fouls committed by either side, with neither team able to really create much with the ball. It took the Saddlers thirteen minutes to create their first chance; Amadou Bakayoko finding Joe Edwards with a neat pass, but Edwards twenty yard, right-footed effort from the edge of the box sailed narrowly wide of the post without troubling Colin Doyle in the Bradford goal.

Moments after Walsall's first chance of the game was missed, the visitors had a chance to open the scoring, McCartan winning his side another free-kick in a dangerous position, but Tony McMahon's curling effort made for an easy save for 'keeper, Mark Gillespie, who held well.

Seventeen minutes in, a delightful move from Nicky Devlin, set up Kieron Morris, twenty five yards out, but the midfielder's powerful shot sailed wide of the post. Both sides struggled to create anything going forward as the game continued, with both sides continuing to give away free-kicks in the midfield area.

The Saddlers won a corner in the twenty third minute, when the ball was put behind by Matthew Kilgallon. Edwards played a testing ball in, which Bakayoko got hold of in the centre of the box, but his right-footed effort could not beat the man between the sticks, with Doyle claiming after a scramble. The Saddlers then won another corner two minutes later, but the Bradford defences stood firm again.

As we reached the half hour mark, the visitors found a breakthrough, against the run of play. Some good passing play from Alex Gilliead and Wyke set up McCartan at the back post, with an easy tap in, which he duly converted to put his side ahead.

Five minutes after the Bradford goal, the Saddlers were presented with a decent opportunity to level the scores, when Kieron Morris won a free-kick twenty yards from goal, but Erhun Oztumer's low effort was gathered comfortably by Doyle.

The visitors doubled their advantage in the thirty eigth minute. The Saddlers unable to deal with a cross in from Tom Field, allowing Dominic Poleon to collect the ball before firing a low effort into the bottom corner.

In the forty third minute, the Saddlers created a wonderful chance to pull a goal back, with Edwards picking out Morris on the box, with just the 'keeper to beat, but Morris scuffed his shot and sent the ball wide of the post. A huge chance missed as the hosts looked to get something back before the break. That would be the last real action of the half, and after one additional minute was played at the end of the half, the referee brought an end to opening forty five, with the visitors two goals to the good.


The second half got off to a frantic start, with the Saddlers looking to pull a goal back, which they almost did just two minutes into the half, with Bakayoko meeting a cross in from Devlin, but the forwards headed effort floated narrowly wide of the target.

Two minutes later, the visitors won a free-kick in a dangerous position, which was played in the box by McMahon, where Matthew Kilgallon got a touch, sending the ball into the path of Luke Leahy, whose deflection turned the ball home, putting Bradford three goals ahead. Walsall facing an uphill battle to get back into the game.

Fifty three minutes in, the Saddlers made the first change to their line-up, introducing debutant Tyler Roberts in place of Kieron Morris.

Two minutes after the Walsall change, the side got a goal back; Leahy getting his head to a lovely cross from Devlin, to turn the ball home. Moments later, Bradford made their first change, as they looked to maintain their now two goal lead, Daniel Pybus replacing Shay McCartan.

In the fifty ninth minute, City made their second change of the afternoon, as Alex Gilliead made way for Luke Hendrie.

As we passed the hour mark, the Saddlers found themselves in good position, as they sought to get another goal back. Leahy was again involved, playing a lovely ball in from the left-wing, which was met at the near-post by the head of Roberts, who turned the ball home to bring his side within one goal of their opponents, with half an hour still to play.

The frenetic pace slowed a little after the Saddlers second goal, as the visitors sought to cling to their narrow lead. In the sixty ninth minute, as the hosts were readying to take a free-kick, Tom Field kicked the ball away, earning himself the first yellow card of the game.

Seventy three minutes in, Bradford won a corner, when a low cross into the box from Nicky Law was turned behind, but the Saddlers defences stood firm and cleared the danger. Two minutes later, Nathaniel Knight-Percival joined Field in the referee's notebook, picking up a yellow card for a poor challenge on Bakayoko.

The visitors made their final substitution in the seventy seventh minute, introducing Lachlan Barr into the fray, in place of Tom Field.

The Saddlers continued to search for an equaliser as the clock ran down. In the eighty first minute, Oztumer was unlucky not to connect with a cross from Leahy, before Devlin picked up the ball and found his way into the box before being tackled. Just a minute later, the hosts again worked their way into a good position, with captain, Adam Chambers playing a delightful ball in for Leahy, who headed goal-wards, but Doyle was waiting for the ball in and held well.

Continuing to press, the Saddlers again got the ball into the box in the eighty fifth minute, courtesy of a neat free-kick from Oztumer. Bakayoko looked almost certain to score, but hooked the ball over the bar. Two minutes later, the big striker was more fortunate, meeting a lovely, low cross in from Roberts, to head the ball into the back of the net, bringing the sides level at three goals apiece.

With eighty eight minutes on the clock, Tony McMahon was added to the referee's notebook, receiving a caution for a foul against Edwards.

The visitors almost regained their lead in the eighty ninth minute, but Pybus' twelve yard effort sailed high over the bar as six additional minutes were shown.

After an eventful match, the final six minutes were an quiet affair, with neither side able to find a winner. Bradford will no doubt be disappointed to have let the Saddlers back into the game, though on balance of play, Walsall deserved to take at least a point from the fixture.

HT | 0-2
GOALS | Leahy (54'), T.Roberts (61'), Bakayoko (87') - McCartan (30'), Poleon (38'), Leahy OG (49')
REFEREE | Michael Salisbury

Don't forget you can join us across social media, we're @BescotBanter on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also find the very latest Saddlers news and updates on Google News.
 Twitter     Facebook     Instagram     Google News