Match Report: Luton Town 2 Walsall 0 Match Report: Luton Town 2 Walsall 0
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Luton Town 2 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Walsall and hosts, Luton Town.
The Saddlers arrived at Saturday afternoon's match having had a rare weekend off as the scheduled clash with Charlton Athletic had been postponed due to the Addicks' international call-ups.

Dean Keates' side were looking to build upon their last-gasp victory over Bristol Rovers, which saw winger Kieron Morris come off the bench to grab all three points in second-half stoppage time.

The match got off to a slow start with both sides enjoying time on the ball as they took time to settle into the game. Luton Town looked the more likely to open the scoring in the early goings, but Walsall’s defences stood firm, limiting the home sides chances on goal, though a lovely sixth minute move could have put Andrew Shinnie on the scoresheet, but for a deflection on his twenty yard effort, which instead turned the ball wide, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Luton continued to press forwards and won a string of corners for their efforts, but the Saddlers remained alert in defence and held firm, before eventually managing to get the ball up to the other end in the thirteenth minute where a weak cross from Zeli Ismail was cleared before Luton captain, Glen Rea prevented Liam Kinsella getting a shot away from the edge of the box.

As we reached the quarter hour mark, Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts, was called into action as a lovely ball over the top came in from Grant, but the man between the sticks was alert and smothered before Danny Hylton could reach it.

With twenty minutes on the clock, the hosts won a corner, which Grant swung into the box where Rea was waiting to bundle the ball over the line with a close range, left-footed effort which put his side a goal to the good.

The Saddlers looked to restore parity immediately, with Morgan Ferrier looking to get a shot away from the edge of the box before being fouled, but the resulting free-kick was fired into the wall by Ismail before the Hatters cleared.

The visiting side continued to struggle as we raced through the half hour mark, enjoying little time with the ball, and they almost fell two behind in the thirty-first minute as Grant picked up the ball and fired an effort goal-wards from twenty yards, but Roberts was able to comfortably claim.

Walsall were finally able to create their first real chance on goal in the thirty-fourth minute, as a good move from the men in Blue culminated in cross from Luke Leahy being met by head of Andy Cook, who glanced his headed effort wide of the upright.

Buoyed by the chance, the Saddlers continued to enjoy a brighter spell, winning a corner in the thirty-eighth minute after Ismail turned the ball into the box forcing James Collins to clear, before the hosts cleared the flag-kick out for a second, which Collins and Luton goalkeeper, James Shea combined to deal with.

The Saddlers almost drew level in the forty-second minute as a cross from Nicky Devlin was met by Cook at the back post and headed goal-wards, but Shea remained alert and tipped the ball over as Dan Potts remained grounded due to an injury to his groin. After a short spell of treatment Potts was then stretchered off, forcing Luton into a forty-fifth minute change as James Justin took his place.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to make use of them and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the Hatters one-goal lead intact.

1 - 0

The two sides returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the second-half got underway. There was a brief halt to proceedings, just four minutes into the half as a clearance from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu hit Justin in the face, but after a short spell of treatment, the defender returned to his feet and the game continued.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, Jon Guthrie picked up the first yellow card of the game, entering the referee’s notebook for tripping Grant.

Grant stepped forward to take the resulting free-kick and curled a lovely twenty-five yard effort over the wall and into the top corner, leaving the Saddlers a mammoth task to get back into the game.

The hosts continued to look the brighter side following the goal as they set about putting the game to bed. With fifty-seven minutes on the clock, a left-footed shot from Collins sailed narrowly over the crossbar, and two minutes later, Justin hit the right upright with a right-footed effort from the centre of the box, before Hylton’s follow up effort was cleared off the line.

Walsall opted to make a double change to their line-up in the sixty-second minute, with Nicky Devlin and Zeli Ismail making way for Kane Wilson and Connor Ronan.

As they set out in search of a route back into the game, the Saddlers were awarded a free-kick in a good spot, thirty yards from goal, which the freshly introduced Ronan stepped up to take, but the midfielder blazed the ball over the bar without troubling Shea in the Hatters goal.

Luton almost put the game to bed in the seventy-second minute, but a superb move from Hylton, who turned inside his man to create space, culminated in the striker dragging a twelve yard effort wide of the upright when he really should have scored.

Just two minutes later, the Saddlers saw their best chance of the game go begging, with the ball falling to Cook just outside the area and the forward firing his effort just over the crossbar.

In the seventy-ninth minute, the Hatters opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Danny Hylton made way for Harry Cornick.

The hosts continued to look the more likely to secure a goal as we headed into the final ten minutes, with a right wing cross from the recently introduced Cornick being met by Collins, whose headed effort sailed narrowly over the bar.

Seven minutes from time, the Saddlers opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon, with Josh Gordon taking the place of Josh Ginnelly.

With just five minutes remaining, the set about looking for a third, with Grant getting a right-footed shot away from just outside the box, but Roberts was alert and got down well to prevent the effort nestling in the bottom corner.

The Hatters continued to press, and almost found the net for a third time in the eighty-eighth minute thanks to Sonny Bradley whose effort from a corner was hacked clear.

Luton then opted to make their third and final change of the game, as Jorge Grant made way for Kazenga LuaLua.

Roberts was again called into action in the ninetieth minute, pulling off a fine save with his leg at the back post to deny Cornick a close range goal as the officials indicated four additional minutes would be played.

The Saddlers almost found a late goal moments from time, but Shea kept his clean-sheet with an save that denied Cook a goal and Ferrier an assist. The referee then brought a halt to the contest, with Luton running out two-goal-to-nil winners. A disappointing display from Walsall who never quite looked to have gotten going. Hopefully something they will be able to put right on Tuesday evening.

2 - 0
Rea (20')
Grant (55')

Attendance: 8,953 (504)
Referee: Andy Woolmer
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