Saturday, 25 November 2017

Saturday, 25 November 2017

MATCH REPORT | AFC Wimbledon 1 Walsall 2

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between AFC Wimbledon and Walsall.
The Saddlers were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they travelled South to Kingsmeadow and took on AFC Wimbledon. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report below.

The Dons got the match underway, and after just three minutes won a corner when Luke Leahy was forced to put the ball behind. The flag-kick was swung into the box, where it fell to Darius Charles whose right-footed effort sailed wide to the right. The pace slowed a little as both sides looked to settle into the game.

Ten minutes in, Walsall won their first corner of the game following some lovely play from Tyler Roberts and Kieron Morris who worked the ball to Erhun Oztumer in the box. Oztumer attempted a cross, and the ball was deflected behind, but the resulting corner came to nothing.

We reached the fifteenth minute with Wimbledon 'keeper, George Long on the ball, but a poor clearance from the shot-stopper allowed Oztumer to capitalise and after a touch to control, the midfielder fired a thirty five yard screamer into the top corner to give his side an early advantage.

The hosts sought a quick reply, and sixteen minutes in, almost found one with Andy Barcham finding himself in space just outside the box, but his right-footed effort sailed wide of the post. A short while later, Harry Forrester also found himself in shooting range, twenty five yards from goal, but his powerful effort sailed over the bar.

The Saddlers were fortunate not to concede a penalty in the twenty second minute, a foul by Leahy on Lyle Taylor adjudged to have been just outside the box. The resulting free-kick was played low by Taylor, but the visiting defences were able to clear the danger. The home side continued to search for an equaliser, getting the ball to Cody McDonald in the twenty fifth minute, but the strikers glancing header towards goal was easily saved by Liam Roberts in the Walsall goal.

With thirty one minutes on the clock, the Saddlers doubled their advantage; Zeli Ismail tricking his way past a defender before cutting the ball back to Amadou Bakayoko who poked it past Long at the far post.

Five minutes later, Walsall's advantage was slashed in half, when McDonald set up his strike partner, Taylor who calmly tapped the ball home, putting his side back in contention.

In the thirty eighth minute, Harry Forrester  became the first player to receive a booking, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Ismail.

The home side almost drew themselves back on level terms in the forty first minute, when a lovely cross from Barcham set up McDonald, who only had to tap the ball home, but Jon Guthrie was alert for the Saddlers and cleared the danger. Wimbledon continued to press forward in search of an equaliser as we headed into the final moments of the first half, but the Walsall defences held firm through two additional minutes and took a two-goal-to-one lead into the break.

Sky Bet League One | HT
Wimbledon 1 Walsall 2

The sides remained unchanged as they returned for the second half, which Walsall got underway. The Saddlers soon won a corner, thanks to Adedeji Oshilaja who put the ball out of play, but they were unable to make use of it and the hosts cleared. The match became a rather scrappy affair, with a host of fouls committed by both sides.

In the fiftieth minute, a cross from Barcham came to McDonald, but the striker was unable to control and Walsall cleared the danger. The Dons continued to press and moments later, saw a Barcham shot blocked. Two minutes later, the hosts won a corner, following a goalmouth scramble from a Barcham cross. The ball was swung into the box where it was picked up by Jon Meades whose driven effort was thwarted by Leahy who put his body on the line to block.

After more pressure from the hosts, which came to nothing, the Saddlers finally worked the ball back to the other end in the fifty sixth minute, where it fell to Morris in a good position, but his sliced right-footed effort sailed well wide of the mark without troubling the man between the sticks.

Quick to get the ball back in-front of the Walsall goal, the hosts saw another chance go begging in the fifty sixth minute, as Taylor drifted inside before drilling a right-footed, twenty five yard effort wide.

As we headed past the hour mark, an unmarked Bakayoko should have added to the Saddlers tally, but he was fractions short of connecting with Ismail's cross.

With sixty one minutes on the clock, the Walsall bench opted to make the first change of the afternoon, replacing Amadou Bakayoko with Reece Flanagan for the final half hour.

Keen to find a second goal, the hosts soon had the ball back in-front of the Walsall goal, where, in the sixty fifth minute, a powerful cross from Taylor fell to his captain, Barry Fuller, who leaning back at the far post skied the ball sending it over the bar when he really should have buried it. Moments later, Taylor fired an effort of his own in on goal, but his twenty yard shot sailed over the bar.

Not content to sit back and defend, the Saddlers continued to get forward whenever the opportunity presented itself, and almost extended their lead in the seventy second minute when Morris broke into the box before firing a fierce effort in, but Long was alert and beat the ball away.

In the seventy fifth minute, the Wimbledon bench opted to make their first changes of the game, replacing Harry Forrester and Darius Charles with Tom Soares and George Francomb for the final quarter of an hour.

Moments later, the Saddlers opted to make their second substitution of the afternoon, taking off Tyler Roberts in favour of Daniel Agyei. Agyei was shown a yellow card a few minutes aftercoming on.

There was a brief halt to proceedings, eight minutes from time, when Ismail went down, apparently suffering from cramp. It was decided he would be unable to continue and he made way for Nicky Devlin before the match got back underway.

There was another pause in proceedings in the eighty fourth minute whilst Barcham received treatment for an injury. He too was unable to continue, and was replaced by Egli Kaja.

Four additional minutes were awarded at the end of the ninety. Two minutes into them, Taylor picked up the ball in a promising position on the edge of the box, but his curling right-footed effort sailed wide of the mark without troubling the Walsall shot-stopper. There was little further action, and the Saddlers ended the game with their two-goals-to-one lead intact. A much needed second win on the bounce for Jon Whitney's men as they look to climb the table.

Sky Bet League One | FT
Wimbledon 1 Walsall 2
Taylor (36') // Oztumer (15'), Bakayoko (31')
Attendance | 4,130 (293)
Referee | John Busby (Oxfordshire)

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