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Match Report: Fleetwood Town 2 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday evening's season-ending League One clash between Fleetwood Town and Walsall.
The Saddlers have had a season to forget and arrived at this match following a midweek draw with Bradford City. A result which saw the side secure a spot in League One for at least another season.

The match got off to a quiet start in the sunshine, with Fleetwood Town seeing plenty of the ball though making little progress forwards with it.

Just five minutes in, Fleetwood won the first corner of the match, which was swiftly turned behind for the second, which was swung into the box, landing at the feet of Ashley Eastham at the back post, but the defenders effort on goal sailed high over the bar.

The match settled into something of a midfield battle, until the twelfth minute, when the ball fell to Maz Kouhyar outside the area, allowing the defender a shot on goal, but Fleetwood 'keeper, Alex Cairns was on hand to stop the twenty yard effort.

Moments later, with the ball back at the other end, Eastham combined well with Toumani Diagouraga to force a save from Walsall shot-stopper, Mark Gillespie who did well to tip the ball, headed for the bottom corner, wide.

The game again settled, with neither side showing too much desire to get forwards. With twenty-five minutes on the clock, Amadou Bakayoko picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon, for a late challenge on Harrison Biggins.

Moments after the booking, a clash of heads brought about a stop in play allowing Florent Cuvelier to receive treatment, but he was soon back up and able to continue.

Fleetwood almost opened the scoring in the twenty-ninth minute, but Hunter's ball across goal was cleared by the Walsall defences before it could be turned home.

Just three minutes later, Hunter was luckier, picking up the ball out wide on the left before curling a shot into the far corner with a little help from the post to put his side ahead.

The Saddlers tried to get straight back on level terms, but George Dobson's right-footed shot from just outside the box sailed high and wide.

There was another pause to proceedings in the thirty-eighth minute, allowing both Bobby Grant and Jack Fitzwater to receive treatment following a clash of heads, but both were soon bandaged, back on their feet and ready to continue.

Just as the board went up indicating four additional minutes were to be played, Fleetwood doubled their advantage as a parried save from Gillespie was tapped home by Paddy Madden.

Moments later, Madden went close to a second, but Gillespie was able to stop he right-footed effort from outside the box finding it's target. Moments later, back at the other end, Callum Cockerill-Mollett went close to getting a goal back for his side, but his ball aimed for the top corner, sailed just wide and the sides headed back to their dressing rooms with Fleetwood leading by two-goals-top-nil.

2 - 0

Fleetwood made a change following the break, with Conor McAleny taking the place of Bobby Grant before the second half got underway.

The half started quietly, with neither side showing any urgency, though the Saddlers did enjoy some good spells of possession, but fifty-two minutes in, Fleetwood won a corner, which was put out of play for a second corner, which Walsall were able to clear.

In the fifty-seventh minute, a superb run from McAleny culminated in cross to Hunter in space, but Hunter's shot was easily saved by Gillespie.

Moments after the shot, Fleetwood opted to make their second change of the afternoon, introducing former Saddler, Jordy Hiwula in place of goal-scorer, Paddy Madden.

Walsall were presented with a chance to pull a goal back in the fifty-ninth minute thanks to a poor back-pass from Diagouraga, but Bakayoko was unable to play the ball into the path of Kouhyar and the hosts cleared.

With sixty-four minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make a triple substitution, replacing Amadou Bakayoko, Luke Leahy and Florent Cuvelier with Erhun Oztumer, Mitchel Candlin and Will Shorrock for the final twenty-five minutes of the season.

There was a brief stoppage in the seventieth minute as Cockerill-Mollett received treatment for an injury, but he was soon able to continue. Fleetwood took the opportunity to introduce their third and final substitute, as Nathan Pond took the place of Gethin Jones.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying decent spells on the ball.

In the seventy-sixth minute, Kory Roberts joined Bakayoko in the referee's notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Lewie Coyle.

Fleetwood went close to scoring a third in the seventy-seventh minute, as a cut-back from Biggins was met by Diagouraga, but the shot from the midfielder took a deflection, sending it soaring over the crossbar.

With eighty-four minutes on the clock, a clever pass from Oztumer set Candlin up, but the young forwards scuffed his shot sending the ball wide of the upright.

Two additional minutes were played to end the game, but neither side was able to create anything further before the referee brought an end to the match, with Fleetwood holding on to their two-goal lead to take all three points. A poor end to the season for the Saddlers who were again unable to take any of their chances.

2 - 0
Hunter (31')
Madden (45')

Attendance: 3,644 (1,084)
Referee: Kevin Johnson

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