MATCH REPORT: Walsall 1 Milton Keynes Dons 0 MATCH REPORT: Walsall 1 Milton Keynes Dons 0

MATCH REPORT: Walsall 1 Milton Keynes Dons 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League One clash between Walsall and Milton Keynes Dons.
The Saddlers were back in League One action on Saturday afternoon as they played host to Milton Keynes Dons at Banks's Stadium. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report below.

Walsall's Erhun Oztumer got the match underway and the Saddlers had soon worked the ball into shooting range, with Joe Edwards trying his luck from twenty yards in just the second minute, but the MK Dons defences were alert with Lee Nicholls and Elliott Ward combining to clear the danger.

Walsall continued to press, seeking an early advantage, which they almost found in the fourth minute; Oztumer dancing his way though to the edge of the box before firing a left-footed effort inches wide from twenty five yards. A very positive start from the Saddlers.

MK Dons saw their first half-chance of the match in the eleventh minute, winning a corner thanks to some good work from George Williams, but the Saddlers defences made light work of clearing the danger, before Dons captain, Dean Lewington picked up the loose ball and crossed it out of play. The hosts won a corner of their own two minutes later, Lewington turning the ball behind at the far post from a dangerous Luke Leahy cross, but Osman Sow was on hand for the visitors to cleared the danger.

The Saddlers felt they should have had a penalty in the sixteenth minute as their captain, Adam Chambers was felled in the box, but the referee was unmoved and waved play on.

Walsall continued to enjoy much of the ball as the game progressed, getting forward well as their visiting opponents continued to force themselves onto the back-foot, playing out from the back and continually giving the ball away.

In the eighteenth minute, Oztumer was denied a tap-in at the front post by Ward, before Amadou Bakayoko fired an effort wide as their side were allowed forward once again, after a decent spell of possession.

The early pace slowed a little as the match descended into a rather scrappy affair, with both sides seeing plenty of the ball in and around the midfield area, with neither able to create anything going forwards as they were frustrated by their opponents defences.

There was a brief pause in proceedings in the twenty seventh minute, whilst Osman Sow received treatment for an injury, but he was soon up and able to continue.

Walsall were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position in the thirty sixth minute, which George Dobson swung into the box, almost finding a teammate but they were unable to connect with the ball, though the flag was raised for an offside offence anyway. A brief glimpse of attacking threat after a prolonged spell with little forward momentum.

With three minutes of the half remaining, the Saddlers created another decent chance as Edwards set off on a clever run before crossing the ball in for Oztumer, whose looping six yard header didn't trouble Dons 'keeper, Nicholls as it sailed over the bar.

One additional minute was played to end the half, but neither side were able to make their mark, and the teams trotted off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

0 - 0
MK Dons

The teams returned unchanged after the break and the visitors got the second-half underway. Walsall began the half brightly, creating their first half-chance just four minutes in, as Dobson picked up the ball in a good position twenty-five yards from goal, before firing an effort over the bar.

MK Dons were forced to make their first change just six minutes into the half, as Osman Sow again fell to the ground holding his knee, prompting the introduction of Robbie Muirhead in his place.

Moments after the change, the visitors created their first chance of the the half, as Marcus Tavernier picked up the ball and fired a low shot in from twenty yards, but the effort sailed just wide of the post without troubling Liam Roberts in the Walsall goal. Roberts was called into action moments later as Muirhead and Ed Upson combined well, but the cross towards goal was easily gathered by the Walsall shot-stopper.

The visitors continued to enjoy a better spell, again testing Roberts in the fifty-seventh minute with a neat ball from Willams into the box almost finding Kieran Agard, but the Walsall 'keeper did well to claim the low ball. Moments later, Muirhead picked up the ball and fired a powerful effort in from twenty yards, but the Saddlers were able to breathe a sigh of relief as it flashed wide of the upright.

The Saddlers finally got the ball back to the other end in the sixty second minute, and they really should have scored as the ball fell to Bakayoko inside the six yard box, but the big striker leaned back and sent his effort blazing over the bar. The visitors were quick to work the ball back up-field, with Muirhead firing an effort in from six yards, but Guthrie was on hand to hook the ball off the line, keeping the scores level.

With sixty-five minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make a double substitution, introducing both Julien Ngoy and Justin Shaibu into the game, in place of Erhun Oztumer and Amadou Bakayoko.

In the seventieth minute, the Saddlers finally found a breakthrough as a long ball found Ngoy, who brought the ball down, cut into the box and fired a low shot into the bottom corner. A superb start from the Stoke City loannee, scoring just five minutes into his Walsall debut.

In the seventy third minute, the visiting side opted to make their second change of the afternoon, as Ike Ugbo replaced Conor McGrandles.

The visitors struggled to get back into the game, as the Saddlers held onto the ball without well as time ebbed away. In the eighty first minute, Marcus Tavernier limped off the pitch as Josh Tymon was brought on to replace him and two minutes after the change, the visiting side did create a chance as Ugbo flashed a powerful right-footed effort narrowly wide from twenty yards.

The two recently introduced Saddlers almost combined to double their sides advantage in the eighty seventh minute, as Shaibu set up Ngoy, but goalscorer couldn't repeat the earlier feat and turned the ball inches wide of the upright.

Four additional minutes were awarded to end the match, but neither side were able to make use of them and the full-time whistle was blown with the Saddlers one-goal-to-nil lead intact to take all three points. A good result for the Saddlers, who withstood spells of pressure well in the second half and eventually capitalised on a chance created, though they probably should have won by more.

1 - 0
MK Dons
Ngoy (70')

Attendance: 4,009 (426)
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
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