MATCH REPORT | Walsall 0 Southend United 1 MATCH REPORT | Walsall 0 Southend United 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 0 Southend United 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's League One clash between Walsall and Southend United.
Whitney's Walsall had the chance to build upon last weekend's victory over Doncaster Rovers as they welcomed fellow mid-table side Southend United to Banks's Stadium. We were in attendance, and you can read our Match Report below.

Following an impeccably observed minutes silence to mark remembrance day, Erhun Oztumer got the match underway. It wasn't long before Southend United had the first chance of the match, winning a free-kick in the second minute, but Anthony Wordsworth sent the ball sailing over the bar without troubling Mark Gillespie in the Walsall goal.

Both sides took some time to settle into the game, but ten minutes in, the visitors won the first corner of the game when James Wilson put the ball behind after some good work from Josh Wright, but Wordsworth's left-footed effort from distance sailed wide of the upright. Southend continued to see much of the ball as the match continued, with the Saddlers content to keep their visitors contained within the midfield area.

In the sixteenth minute, Southend were awarded a free-kick, thirty yards from goal, when Walsall captain, Adam Chambers brought down Michael Kightly. Wordsworth again took the set-piece, this time playing the ball short for former Saddler, Jason Demetriou, whose shot was blocked by the wall.

Just a minute later, Southend were more fortunate, when Kightly intercepted a poor pass from Wilson before crossing the ball into the box, where some woefully poor defending allowed Simon Cox to fire home, putting his side ahead, when the Saddlers had plenty around who should have dealt with the danger.

Walsall almost equalised in the twenty second minute, when a shot from Joe Edwards took a deflection in the box and was almost met by Oztumer at the back post, but the Turkish midfielder was just unable to connect with the ball to turn it home.

Shortly after the half hour mark, there was a brief stoppage in play as both Wordsworth and Ryan Leonard appeared to pick up injuries which required medical treatment, but both were soon back on their feet and able to continue.

The match continued in an uneventful fashion until the forty first minute, when a delightful run from Oztumer culminated in his low shot being blocked, before Roberts fired a twenty yard fizzing effort goal-wards causing Southend 'keeper, Mark Oxley, to parry the ball clear.

Shortly before half-time, both Edwards and Amadou Bakayoko collided with the advertising boards, but both were able to continue, playing out three additional minutes before the referee called time on the first-half.

Walsall 0 Southend 1

Both sides returned unchanged after the break and Ryan Leonard got the game back underway. The half-time talking to appeared to have done wonders for the visitors, who launched an immediate attack on goal, with Marc-Antoine Fortune working his way into space before unleashing a shot goal-wards, which sailed just wide of the far post from an acute angle.

The match returned to something resembling the drab encounter witnessed in the first-half, with neither side creating anything of note.

Ten minutes into the half, Shaun Donnellan picked up the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Fortune. Moments later, the hosts almost drew level with some superb work from Bakayoko as the striker tricked his way into the box, but his eventual effort on goal was blocked. The Saddlers continued to press as they sought an equaliser, and fifty nine minutes in Edwards found himself in shooting range, but his low shot made for an easy save for Oxley.

Sixty three minutes in, a foul on Cox by Wilson saw the latter booked. Gillespie also then picked up a yellow card for dissent.

With sixty seven minutes on the clock, the Saddlers bench opted to make the first changes to their line-up, with Kieron Morris and Daniel Agyei taking the places of Luke Leahy and Amadou Bakayoko.

Two minutes after the Saddlers substitutions, Simon Cox picked up a yellow card for a late tackle on Wilson. Moments before his side opted to make their first change of the afternoon, replacing Marc-Antoine Fortune with Nile Ranger for the final twenty minutes.

Three minutes after their changes, Cox won a corner for his Southend side. The ball in was cleared only as far as Cox, allowing the striker to turn an effort in on goal, but Gillespie was alert and comfortably gathered.  The visitors continued to enjoy a good spell of possession, with Wright, Ranger and Demetriou all playing a part in setting up Wordsworth, but the eventual effort on goal sailed wide of the mark.

Seventy seven minutes in, the Southend bench opted to make their second change of the afternoon, replacing Michael Kightly with Stephen McLaughlin.

Two minutes after the Southend change, Joe Edwards was booked for a foul on Cox. Moments after the booking, the Saddlers bench made their third and final change of the game, replacing James Wilson with Zeli Ismail for the final ten minutes.

Walsall continued to hunt a late equaliser as time ebbed away, but eighty seven minutes in Oztumer's effort sailed wide of the post, before two seeing an effort blocked by Demetriou two minutes later. The resulting corner was easily cleared by the Southend defences.

The Saddlers continued to press as we headed into five additional minutes, Edwards slipping in Agyei as the board went up, but Oxley was alert and tipped the ball over the bar. The resulting corner fell to Donnellan, who headed over the bar. Moments later, at the other end, McLaughlin found his way into the box but his cross-come-shot was dealt with by Gillespie who palmed the ball away.

The final chance of the match came to Edwards whose deflected effort almost caught Oxley out, but the Southend 'keeper got to it just in time, ensuring his side brought the Saddlers home record to end, taking all three points from the encounter.

Walsall 0 Southend 1
Cox (17')
REFEREE | Darren Drysdale
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