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Match Report: Walsall 1 Bury 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Dean Keates' Walsall and bottom-of-the-table Bury.
Walsall arrived at this afternoon's match on the back of four consecutive defeats, with the Bescot Stadium side failing to register a single goal in those outings.

With both the Saddlers and Shakers sitting near the foot of the form table the odds were high on one goal being enough to secure all three points.

After a minute’s applause in memory of Ray Wilkins, Bury got the match underway. The visiting side began the game brightly, creating an early chance just three minutes in, when a cross into the box from club captain, Neil Danns was guided out for a corner. The ball in from Callum Styles was met by the head of Adam Thompson but Walsall ‘keeper, Liam Roberts got down well to push the ball away.

Walsall were hot on their tails, creating their first chance just two minutes later, with the ball finding Amadou Bakayoko twenty-five yards from goal, but the big striker dragged his effort wide. The Saddlers continued to enjoy a good spell, creating another decent chance in the ninth minute, as Bakayoko turned provider, playing in Erhun Oztumer with a neat cross, but the ‘Turkish Messi’ headed over.

Keen to keep up their early momentum, the Saddlers got forward again in the twelfth minute, with Oztumer crossing into the area from the left, but Bury ‘keeper Joe Murphy beat his Walsall teammates to the ball, smothering it before a shot could be turned in.

The early frenetic pace slowed a little as the game progressed, with both sides enjoying some decent spells of possession whilst preventing any further chances of note as much of the action was contained within the midfield area.

With twenty-three minutes on the clock, the Saddlers found a route through on goal, with Luke Leahy playing a lovely floated cross into the box, which Bury cleared only as far as Florent Cuvelier, but the midfielders powerful volley caused no concern for Murphy in the Bury goal as it sailed wide of his upright.

Walsall continued to dominate, and almost opened the scoring in the twenty ninth minute, as Oztumer played in Justin Shaibu, with the Brentford loanee firing a fierce effort in from close range, forcing a super save from Murphy to deny the home side. The resulting corner was well defended by the visitors who cleared the danger.

The hosts created another good scoring opportunity in the thirty-sixth minute, with some good teamwork on show in the build-up as Oztumer sent Shaibu away down the right, before the ball was crossed in for Bakayoko, who set up Kieron Morris eighteen yards out, but Morris’ shot sailed wide.

Bury were awarded a free-kick thirty yards from goal in the thirty ninth minute, presenting them with a rare opportunity on goal, but Walsall’s defences were alert and cleared the danger before a shot could be turned in.

The Saddlers soon had the ball back at the other end, with Bakayoko again setting up Morris, but after some good work in the box, the midfielder dragged his right-footed effort wide.

The final few minutes of the half saw little in the way of goalmouth action and the sides headed into the break with the scores still as they had started the game. A decent first-half from the Saddlers who created plenty of chances on goal but were disappointingly unable to convert any of them.

0 - 0

The sides returned unchanged after a short break, and Walsall got the game back underway, firing towards their home support as they looked for the illusive first goal. Bury again started brightly, with James Hanson heading just wide of the post, two minutes in, as a whipped cross from his captain found him in space.

Two minutes later, Bury were again presented with a chance on goal as they broke from a Walsall corner. Former Saddler, Zeli Ismail doing well to burst through the Saddlers defences before crossing the ball towards an unmarked Ryan Cooney, who was just unable to connect properly. The ball was soon back with Ismail though, and the midfielder let fly, but Roberts was on hand to beat the curling effort clear.

With fifty minutes on the clock, Adam Thompson became the first player to receive a yellow card, picking up the booking for a foul on Justin Shaibu, which saw the Saddler make an early departure as he was unable to continue due to a calf injury. Julien Ngoy took his place.

As we reached the hour mark, Roberts was again called into action, beating away a twelve-yard effort from Danns. Moments later, with the ball back at the other end, a superb left-footed, eighteen-yard effort from Oztumer sailed narrowly wide of the post.

Bury continued to enjoy a brighter half, and almost opened the scoring in the sixty-first minute, as a clever cross from Ismail found Hanson in good position, but the headed effort sailed inches wide of the post.

In the sixty-fourth minute, the Saddlers opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Flo Cuvelier making way for George Dobson.

Walsall enjoyed a decent spell of possession as the game continued, but their defensive counterparts did well to limit them to the midfield area. Seventy-three minutes in, the hosts were able to break, with Ngoy collecting a low cross from Morris, but the Bury defences were close at hand to prevent a shot on goal.

With just eleven minutes remaining, Bury opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Zeli Ismail made way for George Miller.

Eighty-four minutes in, Walsall won a corner, which was swung into the box by Oztumer, finding the head of Bakayoko, who would have opened the scoring but for some superb defending by the visiting side to clear the ball off the line. Bury soon had the ball back at the other end, thanks to some good work from Rohan Ince, who set Miller away into the box, but the Saddlers defences got back well and cleared the danger before he could unleash a shot.

With just a minute of the regulation ninety remaining, Walsall were powered into the lead thanks to a mistake from Thomspon who diverted a Leahy cross into his own net.

As we headed into four additional minutes, Bury opted to make a double change to their line-up, as both Neil Danns and Rohan Ince headed off, in place of Jay O’Shea and Danny Mayor. Two minutes later, the Saddlers opted to make their final change of the game, as Erhun Oztumer made way for Kory Roberts.

There was little further action, as the Saddlers held on firmly to their late gift of a goal to see out the game as one-goal-to-nil victors. A huge win for Walsall who looked to have been flirting with a spot in the drop zone at times during the afternoon, but disappointing to once again not see them manage to convert any of the many chances they created.

1 - 0
Thompson OG (89')

Attendance: 3,807 (130 Bury)
Referee: Chris Sarginson

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