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MATCH REPORT | Walsall 4 Fleetwood Town 2

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League One clash between the Saddlers and Fleetwood Town.
With little time to dwell on last weekend's defeat to Gillingham, the Saddlers were back in action on Tuesday evening as they welcomed Fleetwood Town to Banks's Stadium. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report below.

The Saddlers got the match underway, but it was Fleetwood Town who would see the best of the early action. Just three minutes in, a counter attack from the visiting side culminated in a miss-hit cross from Amari'i Bell going behind. Moments later, the visitors got forward again, with the ball coming to Ashley Hunter in a dangerous position, but the linesman had his flag raised for an offside infringement.

The early frenetic pace slowed just a little, as both sides settled into the game. Walsall began to see more of the ball as the game progressed, but were largely confined to the midfield area by the visiting defences. It wasn't until the sixteenth minute that we saw the first real shot on goal, but it came from the visiting side, as Kyle Dempsey found himself in shooting range, twenty five yards from goal, but the midfielders right-footed effort curled wide of the far post without troubling Walsall 'keeper, Liam Roberts.

It took the visiting side just twenty one minutes to find the opening goal of the game, picking up the ball thanks to a mistake from Kieron Morris and working their way forward down the right. The visitors saw an Aiden O'Neill shot blocked by Roberts before finding Jordy Hiwula picked up the loose ball and fired home.

Walsall responded well and just four minutes after the Fleetwood goal, they found an equaliser, thanks to a lovely cross in from the left-wing which found Erhun Oztumer who needed no second invitation to bury the ball in the bottom right corner from a few yards out.

Fleetwood almost re-took the lead in the thirty first minute, but Liam Roberts was on hand to parry Hiwula's goal-bound, right-footed, twenty five yard effort. Three minutes later, Hiwula again found himself in scoring range, thanks to some neat play from Hunter who played him through one-on-one, but Roberts was alert and used his legs to prevent the goal. The hosts soon had the ball back at the other end, but after charging into the box, Morris fired wide.

In the thirty ninth minute, the visiting side saw another good chance missed as Dempsey cut the ball back for O'Neill, who knocked the ball wide. Again, the Saddlers were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, where it was picked up by Leahy whose twenty five yard effort was parried by Fleetwood 'keeper, Alex Cairns, before one of his defenders tidied up before an on-rushing Amadou Bakayoko could get to the loose ball.

Walsall won a free-kick in forty fifth minute, which was played short by Oztumer for Zeli Ismail who found himself in space in the box and slipped the ball home from twelve yards to put his side ahead. Two additional minutes were played following the goal, but Fleetwood were unable to find a quick reply and the Saddlers headed into the break a goal to the good.

Sky Bet League One | HT
Walsall 2 Fleetwood 1
Fleetwood got the second half underway, with both sides unchanged following the break. The Saddlers began the second half brightly, seeing much of the ball, though they were unable to create any further chances in front of goal.

In the fifty sixth minute, the Fleetwood bench opted to make an early change to their line-up as they sought to get back on level terms. Baily Cargill the man to make way, as Devante Cole entered the fray. Just a minute later, Ashley Hunter picked up the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Leahy.

It didn't take long for Cole to get involved in the action, firing a cross-come-shot in on goal five minutes after taking to the field, but Roberts was alert and blocked the ball. The resulting corner was played in by O'Neill, who found Bell unmarked on the edge of the area, from where the defender was able to fire home to bring the sides level once again.

In the sixty fourth minute, following the leveller, both sides opted to alter their line-ups, with Fleetwood replacing Ashley Hunter and Markus Schwabl with Wes Burns and George Glendon. The Saddlers, in a move unpopular amongst the watching crowds, brought on Reece Flanagan in place of Zeli Ismail.

With twenty minutes still to play, the Saddlers almost re-took the lead through Morris who fired a powerful twenty yard drive goal-wards, but Cairns was alert and tipped the ball over the bar. The resulting corner from O'Neill almost found the head of Fleetwood captain, Cian Bolger, but the Walsall defences were able to get to it first and cleared the danger, winning a corner of their own seconds later at the other end, which came to nothing.

Fleetwood enjoyed more of the ball as the game rapidly headed into the final ten minutes, but the Walsall defences stood firm, denying their visitors any real chances at a late winner.

With just seven minutes left to play, the Walsall bench opted to make another change to their side, introducing Daniel Agyei into the game in place of Erhun Oztumer.

Moments after the subsitution was completed, the Saddlers almost re-took the lead; Morris' left-footed effort sailing mere inches over the bar.

There was little further action of note, until, in the final minute of normal time, Tyler Roberts fired what appeared to be a cross, twenty yards into the top corner to put his side a goal ahead with just moments of the game left.

Seconds after the re-start, the goal-scorer was again involved, playing a neat one-two with Agyei before the Burnley loanee fired the ball past Cairns to ensure his side would take all three points from the tie.

Two minutes into injury time, the Saddlers made their final change of the evening, as Tyler Roberts made way for Shaun Donnellan, but there was little time for anything else as the referee brought the nail-biting game to it's conclusion.

Sky Bet League One | FT
Walsall 4 Fleetwood 2
Oztumer (25'), Ismail (45'), T.Roberts (89'), Agyei (90') // Hiwula (21'), Bell 61')
ATTENDANCE | 3,225 (82 away)
REFEREE | Darren Handley (Lancashire)

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