Saturday, 3 March 2018

MATCH REPORT: Southend United 0 Walsall 3

MATCH REPORT: Southend United 0 Walsall 3

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's League One clash between Southend United and Walsall.
Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they travelled to Roots Hall and took Southend United in their latest League One fixture of the season. We were in attendance, and you can read our match report below.

Walsall got us underway, but both sides took a little time to settle into the game, but four minutes in Southend were presented with the first chance of the match thanks to a mistake from Kieron Morris who gave the ball away allowing Simon Cox a shot on goal, but the strikers low effort was claimed by Liam Roberts.

Most of the action that followed centred around the midfield area as both sides enjoyed spells of possession without troubling either 'keeper, but thirteen minutes in, the Blues created another chance as a quickly taken throw found Shayon Harrison whose cross in from the left was headed over the bar by Freddie Ladepo.

The hosts continued to enjoy a brighter spell, and went close again moments later as a right wing cross from Stephen McLaughlin found the head of Cox, but Liam Roberts was alert and claimed. Cox again went close in the twenty seventh minute, but once more Walsall's stopper was on hand to claim the chipped effort.

As we reached the half hour mark, the Saddlers 'keeper was again called into action, getting a hand to an effort from Dru Yearwood to deny the midfielder, who had done well to charge down an attempted George Dobson clearance.

The Saddlers continued to struggle, seeing little of the ball and failing to work their way forwards with it when they did have possession. It took until the thirty seventh minute for Walsall to create their first real chance of the game, with Luke Leahy doing well to find Julien Ngoy with a long ball forward, but Michael Turner was on hand for the home side and blocked Ngoy's shot.

Walsall continued to enjoy a better spell and soon had the ball forward again, with Morris driving towards the box before curling a left-footed effort inches wide of the far post from twenty yards. Moments later, it was the turn of Ngoy, who curled his effort wide from eighteen yards after some good play from Erhun Oztumer set him up.

That would be the last real action of the first-half, as the referee blew for half-time with no need for additional minutes to be added. Not a thrilling first forty-five but one which left both sides with a chance to change their fate in the second forty-five.

0 - 0

Both sides returned unchanged after the break and Southend got the match back underway. It was the Saddlers who started the half on the front foot though, with Ngoy collecting a ball from Maz Kouhyar in the box moments after the re-start, but his low driven effort was stopped by the legs of Blues 'keeper, Mark Oxley.

The hosts soon had the ball back at the other end, with former Saddler, Jason Demetriou playing a lovely deep cross in for Harrison in the forty nineth minute, but the forwards side-footed volley sent the ball sailing over from close range. Just two minutes later, the Saddlers almost took the lead, as Kouhyar let fly from twenty-five yards, but his left-footed effort flew just wide of the upright.

With fifty seven minutes on the clock, Oztumer put the Saddlers ahead with a delightful twenty-five yard, left-footed effort which bobbled in front of former Saddlers loannee, Oxley, bouncing over the hapless 'keeper and into the net.

As we reached the hour mark, Luke Leahy became the first player to receive a caution, picking up a yellow card for a foul on McLaughlin.

Just nine minutes after putting his side ahead, Oztumer doubled their advantage after Morris was fouled on the edge of the box to win a free-kick for his side. The set-piece was curled neatly through the crowd to nestle in the bottom corner. A stunning strike from the Wizard of Oz.

Moments after the goal, Southend opted to make a double substitution, introducing Michael Kightly and Marc-Antoine Fortune in place of Shayon Harrison and Freddie Ladepo.

With twenty minutes still to play, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, replacing Julien Ngoy with Amadou Bakayoko.

In the seventy second minute, a foul by Dru Yearwood as he attempted to prevent a hat-trick strike from Oztumer saw the Southend man pick up a yellow card. The resulting free-kick was played in by Dobson and sailed inches over the bar.

Fifteen minutes from time, the hosts made their third and final change of the afternoon as they desperately sought to get back into the game, with Michael Timlin the man to make way for Anthony Wordsworth.

An almost carbon copy of his scoring free-kick saw Oztumer go close in the seventy sixth minute, but Oxley was able to get down well to his left to push this one clear.

With seventy nine minutes played, the Saddlers made their second change of the game, introducing Liam Kinsella in place of Maziar Kouhyar.

Just five minutes from time, Oztumer put the game to bed, ensuring his side would take all three points, and he the match ball as he poked home a fabulous Leahy cross from twelve yards to secure Walsall's first league hat-trick in over four years. Moments later, the Turkish midfielder was substituted, with Florent Cuvelier taking his place.

Four additional minutes were awarded to end the match, but neither side were able to create any further chances and the game ended with Walsall's three goal lead still intact. A superb result for the travelling side and one which moved them up into thirteenth in the League One table, in touching distance of the top half.

0 - 3

Oztumer (57')
Oztumer (66')
Oztumer (85')
Attendance: 6,413 (119 Walsall)
Referee: Charles Breakspear

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