Saturday, 30 September 2017

Saturday, 30 September 2017

MATCH REPORT | Wigan Athletic 2 Walsall 0

The Saddlers returned to league action on Saturday afternoon as they made the trip North to the DW Stadium to take on Wigan Athletic. Here is our match report.
Jon Whitney's Walsall looked to build upon their midweek draw with Charlton Athletic as they travelled North to take on Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. We were in attendance, and you can read our Match Report below.

Erhun Oztumer got the match underway at the DW Stadium, and just four minutes in, his side won a corner, which resulted in a low effort on goal from Joe Edwards being claimed by Jamie Jones. Moments later, up at the other end, Wigan created their first chance of the game, with Jon Guthrie doing well to prevent Will Grigg getting the first goal of the game, before Nick Powell sliced a shot wide of the mark, having been found unmarked in the box. A decent start from both teams.

Just ten minutes in, the referee brandished his first yellow card of the game, booking Wigan captain, Samy Morsy for a late challenge on Walsall captain, Adam Chambers, who was making his five hundredth league appearance.

Today's hosts began to dominate as the match action continued, but the Saddlers defences ensured they were denied any real chance of a goal. The visitors did eventually manage to see some of the ball, with an effort from Edwards being deflected wide after some good play from Oztumer in the sixteenth minute, but the resulting corner came to nothing.

The match became something of a midfield battle, with neither side able to get the ball forward to create anything in front of goal. About half way through the first half, Gavin Massey almost picked out an unmarked Grigg with a delightful cross in, but Walsall 'keeper, Mark Gillespie got to the ball first to deny the hosts a shot on goal. Walsall did manage to get the ball forward in the twenty seventh minute, with Oztumer firing a left footed shot goal-wards from distance, but Chey Dunkley blocked.

As we reached the half hour mark, the ball was played into the Saddler's box by Callum Elder. Gillespie did well to get something on it, ahead of Powell, but could only parry, allowing Grigg to pick it up and slot a right-footed shot into the bottom corner to give the Latics the lead. After the goal, there was a brief pause in play as Gillespie received treatment for a possible head injury following the collision with Powell, but he was soon up and able to continue.

There was little action of note in the ten minutes following the goal, with both sides contained largely to the midfield area. With five minutes of the half remaining, a neat long ball from Oztumer almost picked out Tyler Roberts in the box, but Jones got off his line well to get to the ball ahead of the striker. Moments later, back at the other end, Gillespie was called into action to keep a curling Powell effort out.

Three additional minutes were awarded at the end of the first half, as a powerful cross from Luke Leahy almost found Oztumer at the back post, but there was just too much on it for the midfielder. The final few moments passed without incident and the teams headed in for their half-time refreshments with the Latics a goal to the good.


Both sides made changes at the break, with David Perkins replacing Michael Jacobs for the hosts and Walsall changing their goalkeeper, Liam Roberts taking the place of Mark Gillespie who had picked up a knock to the head half an hour in. With the changes confirmed, Wigan got the match back underway.

The second half got off to a slow start, but fifty three minutes in, James Wilson brought Grigg down in the box. The referee was in doubt and awarded the Latics a penalty, before dishing out his second caution of the day, booking Wilson for the foul. Grigg was the man to take the spot-kick and he duly drilled the ball into the back of the net, to double his sides advantage.

The Walsall bench opted to make their second change of the afternoon in the fifty seventh minute, introducing Daniel Agyei into the game, in place of Zeli Ismail.

As we headed past the hour mark, the Saddlers capitalised on a defensive mistake from the Latics, with Oztumer picking up the ball on the edge of the box, before curling an effort narrowly wide. The visitors continued to press as they sought a route back into the game, and in the sixty fifth minute, a lovely ball in from Edwards found Oztumer, but Dunkley was on hand for the hosts to prevent the shot.

Sixty eight minutes in, Wigan made their second change of the afternoon, with Max Power taking the place of Lee Evans.

Moments after the change, the hosts almost scored a third, but Perkins shot his Chambers and went behind. The resulting corner came to Powell in the box, but his low effort was saved by the leg of Liam Roberts. Wigan continued to enjoy a good spell, with Elder crossing the ball in moments later, almost finding Powell who was in a dangerous position. A let off for the Saddlers.

Seventy five minutes in, Max Power picked up a yellow card for a foul on Agyei.

The hosts continued to dominate and almost made it three in the seventy sixth minute, when a poor pass from the Walsall captain was intercepted by Massey, who played in Morsy who found himself one-on-one with the 'keeper, but Roberts was alert to save.

The Saddlers made their third and final change in the seventy eighth minute, with Amadou Bakayoko replacing Tyler Roberts. The hosts also took the opportunity to make another change to their line-up, with Nick Powell making way for Gary Roberts.

Walsall almost got a goal back in the eighty fourth minute; Agyei breaking into the area after turning his man and racing past another defender. He had the beating of Jones, but his effort on goal sailed inches wide of the far post. The Saddlers continued to press, and moments later, a lovely cross from Oztumer was headed across goal by Leahy, where it found Bakayoko who nudged it goal-wards, but Jones was alert and got across well to save.

Four minutes were added at the end of the half, but neither side were able to create any further chances, and the game was brought to it's conclusion, with the Latics winning by two-goals-to-nil. A poor performance from the Saddlers, who never truly looked like taking anything from the game.

GOALS | Grigg (30', PEN 54')
ATT | 8,107 (419 Walsall)
REF | David Coote

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