The Football Lab | The Spirit of the Saddlers Shone Through The Football Lab | The Spirit of the Saddlers Shone Through

The Football Lab | The Spirit of the Saddlers Shone Through

Gabriel Sutton of the Football Lab joins us to take a look back at Saturday's high-scoring clash between Walsall and Bradford City.
Following Saturday afternoon's high-scoring League One clash between Walsall and Bradford City, which saw the Saddlers bounce back from three down to secure a point late in the second-half, Gabriel Sutton of 'The Football Lab' joins us to take a look back at the match.

When Matt Kilgallon's header bounced in via Luke Leahy, the narrative had been set. The post-match discussion would be of a 'clinical' performance from Bradford, who had been better in both boxes. Deep down though, it was palpable that the Bantams weren't three goals ahead of Walsall in performance levels.

The Saddlers got a lot of things right in the first half. Joe Edwards and Adam Chambers got to second balls promptly and the build-up play in the middle third was reasonable. The problems lay solely in that final third.

There was a lack of bravery in wide areas, with wing-backs too quick to pass sideways rather than attack the byline. Erhun Oztumer, who got into some excellent positions, was like others guilty of playing the easy ball when there was an opportunity to shoot. Walsall were then cut open by Bradford's brisk breakaways down the right, finding themselves three goals down within five minutes of the restart.

Jon Whitney's side had lacked a bit of magic in the final third, but they found it once Tyler Roberts entered the fray for his debut. The West Brom loanee added pace, movement and creativity, transforming the team's attacking play. Oztumer showed more of what he can do with two strikers in front of him while wing-backs Nicky Devlin and Leahy got forward relentlessly. The duo's wide play - along with the leadership of Chambers - was instrumental to the comeback, with all three goals coming from crosses.

Although this wasn't a win for the Saddlers, it tells us everything we need to know about the spirit in the group. With Roberts around and the two wing-backs supplying him, they have shown that they can cause problems for any team in this division.

Visit where Gabriel provides regular insight, opinion and in-depth analysis on every club in the top four leagues of English football.
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