MATCH REPORT | Walsall 0 Gillingham 1×
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MATCH REPORT | Walsall 0 Gillingham 1
 
MATCH REPORT | Walsall 0 Gillingham 1
MATCH REPORT | Walsall 0 Gillingham 1
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MATCH REPORT | Walsall 0 Gillingham 1

5:09 pm Saturday, 18 November 2017
Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Walsall and Gillingham.
The Saddlers returned to league action on Saturday afternoon as they welcomed Gillingham to Banks's Stadium. We were in attendance, and you can read our Match Report below.

The match got off to a slow start, with both sides enjoying early spells of possession as they took time to settle into the game. Five minutes in, the visitors almost found a way through thanks to a delightful ball over the top from Tom Eaves, but Liam Kinsella was on hand for Walsall to clear before the danger before Gillingham captain, Lee Martin could get to it.

Eight minutes in, Zeli Ismail won a corner for the Saddlers with a low cross in which was deflected behind by Connor Ogilvie. Erhun Oztumer swung the flag-kick in towards the near post, where it was met by an on-rushing Luke Leahy who headed wide. The Saddlers continued to press, with Kinsella almost finding his way through in the tenth minute, but Max Ehmer was on hand for the Gills to clear the danger.

Walsall continued to seek an early goal, winning another corner in the twelfth minute thanks to some good play by Ismail. Oztumer again swung the ball into the box, where it was picked up by Kieron Morris who would have scored but for a late move from Tomas Holy, which saw the defender clear the ball off the line to deny the Walsall man.

Oztumer and Ismail were both involved again in the twenty first minute, combining well to set up Amadou Bakayoko, who was just unable to get to ball following a delightful cross from Ismail as the Saddlers piled the pressure onto their opponents once more. Walsall then won another corner, but Sean Clare was on hand to clear for the visitors.

There was no let up from the Saddlers, who again had the ball in shooting range in the twenty fifth minute, but Bakayoko dragged his twenty five yard effort wide. Moments later, the visitors finally managed to cause problems up at the other end, with Clare darting towards goal in a promising run, but his eventual effort from twenty five yards out sailed wide of the mark without troubling Roberts. Walsall were quick to get the ball back upfield, where a twenty yard, driven effort from Morris also sailed wide of the upright.

Morris again found himself in shooting range, twenty yards from goal in the twenty eighth minute, thanks to a lovely cross field pass from Ismail, but Holy was alert and easily gathered. Moments later, Ismail fired a shot in himself from twenty yards out, but his left-footed effort made for another easy save for Gillingham 'keeper. Two minutes later, the hosts felt they should have been awarded a penalty, as Ismail fell under pressure from Josh Parker, but the referee was unmoved and waved play on, as the ball ran out for a goal-kick.

There was little further action of note as the match headed towards the break, until the forty fourth minute, when the Gills, who had barely had a look in all afternoon, were gifted an opportunity to score thanks to a serious of mistakes from the Saddlers, and Wilkinson needed no second invitation to bury the ball in the back of the net when he was picked out by Eaves, scoring his first goal for the side.

One additional minute was played out at the end of the half, but the Saddlers were unable to make up for their mistake and headed into the break a goal behind.

Sky Bet League One | HT
Walsall 0 Gillingham 1

Both sides returned to the field unchanged following the break. Both sides took some time to settle back into the game, with the first real action of the half coming seven minutes in. Morris going close to putting the sides back on level terms with a shot on goal which was blocked by Ehmer. The rebound then fell to Morris, who again fired an effort in, this time sending the ball narrowly wide.

Ten minutes into the half, Tom Eaves became the first player cautioned, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Kory Roberts.

The Saddlers continued to seek a route back into the game, and fifty seven minutes in, almost found one through Bakayoko who played a neat one-two with club captain, Adam Chambers, before seeing his effort tipped over the bar in a one-handed move from Holy. Moments later, Bakayoko was again involved, setting up Leahy who fired wide.

As we reached the hour mark, both sides opted to ring the changes; Tom Eaves making way for Mark Byrne for the visitors, whilst Kieron Morris and Joe Edwards made way for Reece Flanagan and Tyler Roberts for the home side.

Sixty nine minutes in, Gills captain, Lee Martin picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Tyler Roberts.

The Saddlers opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon with twenty minutes still to play. Amadou Bakayoko the man to make way as Daniel Agyei entered the fray.

The Gills were reduced to ten men in the seventy first minute, when a second bookable offence from Max Ehmer, a late tackle on Agyei, saw the defender depart the match early. The referee with little choice but to send him off.

Both sides struggled to create much following the dismissal, as the visitors looked to hold on to their slender lead, whilst the Saddlers sought to make their man advantage pay, with little success.

Scott Wagstaff was introduced into the game for the final nine minutes, with Conor Wilkinson making way for the midfielder.

In the eighty sixth minute, a lovely ball into the box from Flanagan found Agyei who should have scored, but the connection was poor and Holy gathered.

With just three minutes still to play, the Gills made their third and final change of the afternoon, introducing Ben Nugent into the game, in place of Luke O'Neill.

Moments after a twenty five yard effort from Flanagan sailed high over the bar in the ninetieth minute, the match officials indicated a further five minutes of play giving some hope to the Saddlers who had seen many chances missed throughout the game. It was not to be, and the travelling side took all three points from a game which Walsall had dominated from start to finish. A decent overall performance from Jon Whitney's side, who were punished by their lack of ability to find the back of the net despite countless opportunities.

Sky Bet League One | FT
Walsall 0 Gillingham 1
Wilkinson (44')
Attendance - 4,917 (355 Gillingham)
Referee - Mr. Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)
Man of the Match - Zeli Ismail


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