Saturday, 10 February 2018

Saturday, 10 February 2018

MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 2 Walsall 2

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League One clash between Blackpool and Walsall.
Jon Whitney's Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they travelled North to Bloomfield Road where they took on Blackpool in their latest League One fixture of the season. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report below.

Walsall's George Dobson got the match underway, but it was Blackpool who enjoyed the better start, seeing much of the early action and winning the first corner of the match five minutes in as a driven effort from Callum Cooke was turned behind, but the Walsall defences stood firm and ensured nothing came from the flag-kick.

The Saddlers soon had the ball at the other end though, with Dobson creating their first chance of the match as he fired a right-footed shot goal-wards from twenty yards but the effort curled wide without troubling Joe Lumley in the Blackpool goal. Two minutes later, it was the Walsall defences who were again tested as the hosts won their second corner of the match, with the in-swinging ball finding the head of Curtis Tilt, who forced a fine save off the line from Jon Guthrie.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the ninth minute, whilst Jack Fitzwater received treatment in the centre circle, but the defender was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Blackpool continued to see much of the ball as the match continued, but Walsall did well to limit their hosts chances. Twenty minutes in, Viv Solomon-Otabor drew a foul for which his side were awarded a free-kick. Sean Longstaff played the set-piece goal-wards from thirty yards out, but directed his effort wide of the upright.

With twenty eight minutes on the clock, against the run of play, the Saddlers opened the scoring. Some superb work from Kieron Morris, saw the midfielder intercept a Blackpool pass to take possession, before rushing to the byline and crossing a low ball in to Joe Edwards who made easy work of turning the ball home from ten yards.

Five minutes after the Walsall goal, Blackpool were presented with a chance to draw level as a low cross from Nathan Delfouneso fell to Cooke in the box but the midfielder sent his effort blazing over the bar when he really should have scored. Four minutes later, the hosts created another chance, which this time they took, as Delfouneso picked up the ball in the box and turned his man before firing a right-footed effort past Liam Roberts into the bottom corner to level the scores.

Buoyed by their goal late in the half, Blackpool again began to enjoy much more of the ball as we raced towards half-time, winning a corner in the fortieth minute, but shirt pulling from Tilt in the box as the ball was played in ensured there would be no quick second for the hosts.

The Saddlers, also keen to grab a second before the break, soon had the ball back at the other end, as Morris regained possession, cut inside from the right and unleashed a thunderous twenty yard effort goal-wards, which unfortunately for the visiting side, flashed just wide of the upright.

After one additional minute was played, the referee signalled an end to the half and the teams headed back to their respective dressing rooms.

1 - 1

Jay Spearing got the second-half underway with both sides unchanged following the break. After a slow start to the half, the hosts finally created a chance seven minutes in, when Longstaff found himself in space twenty five yards from goal, but his effort on goal sailed wide.

After a spell of midfield action, Blackpool finally worked the ball back into shooting range in the fifty seventh minute, but Tilt's headed effort was blocked by Fitzwater before the ball fell to Longstaff who fired wide when he should have put his side ahead.

After another prolonged period of action in and around the midfield area, the Saddlers finally broke forward with the ball in the sixty fourth minute, with Amadou Bakayoko sending a low cross into the path of Joe Edwards, but the Blackpool defences were alert and blocked, turning the ball behind, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

With sixty eight minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon as they introduced Erhun Oztumer into the game in place of Julien Ngoy. Blackpool followed suit three minutes later, introducing the man who started the campaign with the Saddlers before joining their North-West rivals on loan in the winter window, Dan Agyei, who took the place of Kyle Vassell.

Agyei took little time to settle into the game, picking up the ball twenty five yards from goal just a minute after entering the fray, and firing a powerful low effort towards Roberts who parried the ball clear.

With fifteen minutes still to play, the Saddlers opted to make their second change of the afternoon, replacing a rather quiet Amadou Bakayoko with Justin Shaibu for the run-in.

A minute after the change, the Saddlers re-took their earlier lead as some poor Blackpool defending allowed a corner kick to trickle through the crowd to find Guthrie, who slotted home from close range.

Ten minutes from time, Blackpool introduced their second substitute of the day, as Armand Gnanduillet took the place of Callum Cooke. Moments after his introduction into the game, Gnanduillet saw a looping header cleared off the line by Fitzwater.

The seasiders made their third and final change of the afternoon in the eighty seventh minute, introducing Danny Philliskirk in place of Ollie Turton.

Just a minute after making their final change, Blackpool drew level, as Agyei played a clever through ball to Gnanduillet, who coolly lifter the ball over Liam Roberts to find the back of the net.

Not content with taking a point from the fixture, the hosts soon had the ball back in-front of the Walsall goal, but Solomon-Otabor's cross-come-shot sailed narrowly wide of the far post.

Four additional minutes were signalled by the officials, and just a minute into them the Saddlers were forced to make their third and final change of the afternoon as Kieron Morris was helped from the pitch, unable to see out the final few moments, with Kory Roberts taking his place.

Some superb defending from Guthrie in the final minute denied the hosts a winning goal, as he turned the ball off the line to prevent a free-kick finding the target, and the final whistle was blown with the scores still tied at two-goals-apiece. Probably a fair result on reflection, as both sides played well in spells and struggled in others.

2 - 2
Delfouneso (37')
Gnanduillet (88')
Edwards (28')
Guthrie (76')
Attendance: 3,404 (625 Walsall)
Referee: Scott Duncan

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