MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Plymouth Argyle 1 MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Plymouth Argyle 1

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Plymouth Argyle 1

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

Erhun Oztumer got the match underway for the Saddlers, with the hosts shooting towards the Tile Choice Stand in the first half. It took Plymouth just two minutes to win the first corner of the match, when Joel Grant's shot was turned behind by Nicky Devlin. The Walsall defences dealt with the flag-kick, but gave away a throw in, which eventually fell to Graham Carey whose shot took a deflection resulting in a second corner for the visitors.

Walsall soon launched their first attack of the game, as the ball fell to Amadou Bakayoko, whose intercepted cross was knocked onto the head of Dan Agyei who nodded the ball straight at the waiting Argyle 'keeper, Luke McCormick. Moments later, back at the other end, the visitors won two further corners, but the Saddlers defences stood firm and dealt with the pressure well.

The match continued in end-to-end fashion, with both sides looking positive going forwards, but defending well. Agyei had another chance to open his Saddlers tally in the ninth minute, but his deflected effort sailed wide, after which the frenetic tempo slowed a little as the match became more of a midfield battle, which the visitors tended to dominate.

Argyle won yet another corner in the twenty first minute, but Carey's ball in evaded Sonny Bradley. The visitors were then awarded a free-kick moments later, which Carey played onto the head of Jake Jervis who turned the ball wide of the mark. Plymouth continued to press, enjoying much of the possession and looking much the likelier to open the scoring, working the ball to Nadir Ciftci who fired a long range effort over the bar.

After weathering the storm, the Saddlers broke, with Luke Leahy turning a delightful left-wing cross onto the head of Agyei, who became the second Saddler in as many games to score a debut goal, heading the ball home to put his side ahead.

The visitors seemed to struggle after conceding, and the Saddlers, buoyed by their goal began to dominate, winning a corner in the thirty first minute, which was easily dealt with by McCormick. Moments later, Agyei had a chance to double the Saddlers advantage, but his powerful effort sailed over the bar. Bakayoko then saw a chance missed, after finding his way skillfully past a defender, before seeing his shot turned behind and the resulting corner easily dealt with by the Argyle defences.

In the thirty eighth minute, the visitors reacted to going a goal behind, by making their first change of the afternoon, introducing Yann Songo'o in place of Joel Grant.

Moments after the change, Plymouth almost levelled the scores from another corner, but a fierce shot from Jamie Ness from the edge of the box, sailed just wide of the target.

The hosts hung on to their one-goal lead as the time ebbed away, and after one additional minute was played, the referee brought an end to the first half.


Plymouth made a second change to their line-up before getting the second half underway, introducing Nathan Blissett in place of Jake Jervis, as they sought to get back on level terms. The visitors started the half brightly, with Blissett, Carey and Miller combining well inside the opening minute, but the Saddlers defences were able to scramble the ball clear before Argyle won a corner, which was met by Songo'o with a mistimed header, which was saved.

Around five minutes into the second half, Argyle won another corner, from which the Saddlers were able to launch a counter attack, but Bradley and Ness were able to thwart the danger. In the fifty fourth minute, Walsall felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Devlin went down in the area, but the referee was unmoved and waved away their appeals. Moments later, the hosts nearly extended their lead, but a left-footed, twenty five yard effort from Oztumer whistled narrowly wide of the post.

The hosts, looking for an equaliser, soon had the ball back at the other end, where Ness fired a low, twenty yard effort goal-wards, but his shot was aimed straight at Gillespie, who held well.

Shortly after the hour mark, the Saddlers made their first change of the afternoon, introducing Simeon Jackson in place of, first-half goalscorer, Dan Agyei.

The match became something of a midfield battle after the change to the line-up, with Argyle looking to get forward, but remaining unable to truly threaten the Walsall goal. With around twenty minutes still to play, James Wilson became the first name in the referee's notebook, picking up a yellow card for pushing Bradley away after tempers flared when he hit him with the ball.

The visitors then made their third and final change of the afternoon in the seventy fourth minute, introducing Ruben Lameiras in place of David Fox, before the Saddlers made their second substitution, replacing Amadou Bakayoko with Kieron Morris for the final quarter of an hour.

Morris was quickly involved, getting on the end of a Jackson cross into the box, before seeing his first effort on goal blocked. The resulting corner was easily dealt with by the visiting defences. Moments later, Oztumer picked up the ball, advancing past Songo'o to get through on goal, before firing a twenty yard, left-footed effort into the bottom corner to give his side a two goal advantage.

With just four minutes of the regulation ninety to play, Plymouth were awarded a penalty, for a Jon Guthrie push on Blissett in the box. Perhaps a soft penalty to concede, but Carey stepped up and smashed the ball into the top corner to give his side hope of taking something from the game.

Four additional minutes were awarded at the end of the half, during which Argyle committed bodies forward as they sought a late equaliser but their efforts were in vain as the Saddlers held on to secure all three points.

HT | 1-0
GOALS | Agyei (23') Oztumer (81') - Carey PEN (87')
ATT | 5,495 (1,525 Pilgrims)
REF | Robert Jones
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