Match Report: Walsall 0 Accrington Stanley 1 Match Report: Walsall 0 Accrington Stanley 1
Match Report: Walsall 0 Accrington Stanley 1

Match Report: Walsall 0 Accrington Stanley 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's Sky Bet League One clash between Dean Keates' Saddlers and John Coleman's Accrington Stanley.
Dean Keates' Saddlers arrived as the match looking to build upon last weekend's narrow victory over Oxford United, and in search of their second win in as many league games.

Accrington started the game brightly, with an early cross from midfielder Sean McConville looking set to create the first opening of the match, but Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts was alert to the danger and got out well to gather. The visiting side continued to enjoy plenty of time on the ball and McConville again looked to create in the fourth minute, with a lovely ball into the box aimed at Mark Hughes who was in good position, but the referee spotted a foul, gifting the Saddlers a free-kick and a chance to alleviate the pressure.

That was short lived however, as just two minutes later, a kick from Isaiah Osbourne to Seamus Conneely in the box resulted in Stanley being awarded a penalty. Billy Kee stepped up to take the spot-kick and fired the ball home to put his side a goal to the good just six minutes in.

Osbourne looked to make up for his lack of judgement, with a quick break, but Nick Anderton put the eventual effort behind. The resulting corner was cleared only as far as Jack Fitzwater, but Accrington ‘keeper Connor Ripley was well positioned to catch the headed effort.

The Saddlers began to see more of the ball as the match continued, and saw some decent chances to restore parity go begging as a superb run from from captain George Dobson culminated in Morgan Ferrier being denied a shot due to being caught in an offside position, before Zeli Ismail beat two men to work his way into shooting range, with his effort being blocked.

The hosts continued to create chances, with Josh Gordon drawing a save from Ripley in the twentieth minute with an effort from range, before his side won a corner a minute later, as Anderton was forced to put the ball behind as Ismail menaced, though the flag-kick came to nothing as McConville and Scott Brown combined to clear.

Accrington finally managed to get the ball back to the other end in the twenty-fourth minute, after seeing off plenty of Walsall pressure, and went close to doubling their advantage through Sam Finley, whose effort on goal sailed inches wide of Roberts upright.

Twenty-six minutes in, Sean McConville became the first name entered into the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card as he attempted to prevent Nicky Devlin taking a throw in.

The Saddlers soon had the ball back at the other end, and again tested Ripley, with an eight yard shot from Josh Ginnelly into the ground being parried by the ‘keeper before the resulting corner saw the ball played onto the head of Jon Guthrie who was hovering at the back post, forcing Ripley to collide with the post in his effort to turn the ball behind resulting in a spell of treatment for the shot-stopper.

As we reached the half hour mark, Stanley finally managed to win possession and raced up to the other end as they looked to put daylight between the two sides, but Jordan Clark went down rather lightly as he fought to break into the box and earned himself a yellow card.

The game continued apace with neither side able to create anything of note, until the thirty-sixth minute when a lovely cross from Finley found Brown in space, but the midfielder was unable to keep his effort on target and the ball sailed out of play without troubling Roberts in the Walsall goal.

Forty-one minutes in, the Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty, as Gordon looked to have played in Ismail forcing Ripley to come out to take the ball from the midfielder before he could get a shot away, bringing him down in the process. Possibly due to the theatrical nature of the fall, the referee was unmoved by the appeals and instead awarded a corner, which ran out of play without causing any further concern for the Stanley shot-stopper.

There was little further action of note as the final few minutes of the half, along with two additional minutes were played out, and half-time was called with Accrington’s early penalty conversion enough to separate the sides at the break.

0 - 1

Accrington opted to make a change to their line-up as the returned following the break, replacing Seamus Conneely with Daniel Barlaser before Kee got the second half underway. The visitors started brightly, almost doubling their tally just three minutes after the re-start, with a superb shot from McConville from the edge of the box but the twenty yard effort sailed just wide of the upright/

The visiting side continued to press and created another chance seven minutes into the half, as Clark cleverly past Luke Leahy and Guthrie with the ball before Roberts ended the move with a superb one-handed save. Stanley again went close two minutes later, as a McConville effort from distance forced Roberts into another save, this time turning the ball over the bar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Josh Gordon the man to make way as Andy Cook entered the fray.

Walsall began to get into the game following the change, creating their first real chance of the half in the fifty-eighth minute, as Dobson picked out Guthrie with an in-swinging corner kick, but the defender was unable to keep his headed effort on target, glancing the ball narrowly wide of the upright.

The visitors were quick to work the ball to the other end, where McConville curled an effort towards the top right corner, with just a little too much on it as it sailed wide of the post with Roberts beaten. Back in front of the Stanley goal a moment later, some superb play from Leahy looked to have played Ginnelly in behind the defence, but the visiting defences were given time to recover and got back to block the eventual effort.

The Saddlers continued to press as we raced through the following ten minutes, though they were unable to create any real chances of note.

With seventy-one minutes played, Accrington opted to make their second change of the afternoon, as Sam Finley was asked to make way for Offrande Zanzala. The hosts also took the opportunity to alter their line-up, introducing Connor Ronan in place of Isaiah Osbourne.

Stanley won a free-kick seventy-three minutes in after Zanzala was wrestled to the ground. McConville played the set-piece into the box, forcing the Saddlers defences to put the ball out of play. The visitors used the throw in to get forward again as they looked to extend their lead but an offside infringement brought the move to an early end before they could get a shot away.

The pace slowed as we headed towards the final ten minutes, with neither side able to create much, until Ginnelly picked up the ball twenty yards out and fired an effort goal-wards, but the shot didn’t trouble Ripley.

The visitors looked to double their lead ten minutes from time after some good play from Kee set up McConville, but the Saddlers defences were well placed and deflected the effort away from goal. Stanley worked the ball back into the box moments later, where Zanzala was presented with chance to shoot, but his effort was also blocked before the rebound fell to Clark who was adjudged to have been in an offside position.

Walsall made their final change of the afternoon in the eighty-fifth minute as they looked to find a late equaliser, with Josh Ginnelly making way for Liam Kinsella as Jack Fitzwater picked up a yellow card for a foul.

The Saddlers won a corner late in the ninetieth minute as the board displayed three additional minutes to be played. The ball in was a good one, finding an unmarked Leahy at the back post, but the defenders headed effort was well saved by Ripley. Moments later, the hosts enjoyed one final chance to restore parity, as a ten yard shot from Ismail was turned behind by Ripley, before the resulting corner was headed wide by Cook.

There was to be no late equaliser for the Saddlers as the referee brought a halt to proceedings moments later with the early spot-kick enough to see Stanley take all three points back to Lancashire.

0 - 1

Kee, PEN (7')
Attendance: 4,257 (233)
Referee: Charles Breakspear
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