Match Report: Walsall 1 Burton Albion 3 Match Report: Walsall 1 Burton Albion 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 1 Burton Albion 3

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Walsall and visitors, Burton Albion.
The Saddlers were looking to build upon last week's much-needed 3-2 victory over Wycombe Wanderers as they welcomed Nigel Clough and his Brewers to Banks's Stadium.

Following an impeccably observed minutes silence, paying tribute to those who lost their lives in last weekend’s tragic accident in Leicester, Burton Albion got the match underway and it was the visiting side who started the brighter. With just three minutes on the clock, Scott Fraser forced the first save of the game from Liam Roberts as he fired in an effort from just eight yards, which was followed up by a blocked effort from Devante Cole.

In the sixth minute, a poor tackle from Isaiah Osbourne, taking out Liam Boyce from behind inside the box saw Albion awarded a penalty. Boyce stepped forward to take the spot-kick and, fortunately for Walsall, rattled the crossbar with his effort.

The Saddlers finally began to see a little of the ball after the penalty miss, but were unable to create much going forwards before they fell behind in the thirteenth minute to a Jamie Allen deflected effort from the edge of the box, which sent Roberts the wrong way and nestled into the bottom right corner.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle following the goal, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball whilst creating little going forwardd.

After a long spell with little action of note, the visiting side doubled their advantage in the twenty-fifth minute, as Cole picked up a through ball from Jake Hesketh and lifted it over Roberts to bag his second league goal of the season.

The Saddlers set about looking for an immediate reply, racing up to the other end where Luke Leahy drilled the ball across the box, but none of his team-mates were able to turn the ball home.

The Brewers soon had the ball back in the Walsall half as they looked to further increase their advantage, with a long range effort from Hesketh being blocked before Allen got on the end of a Fraser cross which was palmed away by Roberts and fired wide from twelve yards. Albion then won a succession of corners which further tested the Saddlers defences, who did well to keep the ball out of the net and eventually cleared the danger.

Burton almost found a third goal six minutes before the break, as Boyce cut inside and curled an effort goal-wards, but the ball sailed narrowly wide of the post. The visitors soon had the ball back in-front of the Walsall goal after a good spell of passing play, and Cole found his way into the box before firing a low effort in, which Roberts was able to gather.

One additional minute was played to end a dire first-half from the Saddlers, before the sides headed back to their respective dressing rooms for their half-time refreshments and a good talking to, at least for the home team who finished the half with no shots on target and two-goals behind their visitors.

0 - 2

The Saddlers opted to make their first change as the sides returned after the break, sending Nicky Devlin out in place of Kane Wilson. Walsall got the second-half underway, but it took just two minutes for Burton to make it three-nil, as Walsall captain, George Dobson was dispossessed inside the area, allowing Fraser a shot on goal, which he duly fired across Roberts and into the bottom corner.

Just a minute after securing their third goal of the afternoon, Burton should have had a fourth, as Stephen Quinn fired a looping, twenty-five yard effort in on goal, but the underside of the crossbar came to the Saddlers rescue ensuring they did not fall further behind.

Walsall created their first real chance of the game in the fiftieth minute, as Leahy crossed the ball in for Andy Cook, but the strikers close-range headed his effort wide of the upright when he really should have scored.

The Saddlers began to enjoy a better spell following their first sighting of goal, and should have pulled one back in the fifty-sixth minute as Cook found himself one-on-one with the Bradley Collins in the Burton goal, but the ‘keeper was able to block the initial effort before Cook fired the rebound onto the post from a tight angle. Moments later, Dobson found himself in shooting range, thirty yards from goal and tried his luck with a dipping volley, but Collins was well placed to deny the Walsall skipper.

The hosts continued to see much more of the ball following a change in formation, to the much favoured four-four-two, and could have pulled a goal back in the sixty-fourth minute after some good work from Nicky Devlin set up Morgan Ferrier, but the forwards headed effort cleared the crossbar.

Following the chance, the Brewers began to enjoy another good spell of possession, which culminated in a sixty-eighth minute dipping effort from Fraser sailing wide of Roberts upright. The visitors went close again three minutes later, as Allen cut the ball back for Hesketh, but the midfielders powerful shot sailed wide of the post without troubling Roberts, though he should have done better.

With seventy-four minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make their final two changes of the game, replacing Kieron Morris and Isaiah Osbourne with Josh Ginnelly and Zeli Ismail for the final fifteen minutes.

The visiting side continued to press following the changes to their opposition, with Hesketh racing down the right before cutting inside and firing a low effort straight into the waiting arms of Roberts.

Walsall were quick to get the ball back up to the other end, where they were finally able to find a goal, in the seventy-seventh minute, as they looked to get back into the game. Ferrier doing well to beat Brewers captain, Lucas Akins and get the ball to Cook in the box, who bundled home at the near post.

Burton opted to make their first change of the afternoon in eighty-first minute, replacing Jake Hesketh with Marvin Sordell.

Moments after the change, the Saddlers should have brought themselves to within a goal of their opposition, as Ferrier cut inside and fired an effort in on goal which Collins turned away  into Ginnelly, who was unable to direct the ball on target.

With eighty-eight minutes on the clock, the visiting side opted to make their second change of the afternoon, introducing Jake Buxton in place of Jamie Allen.

Five additional minutes were added to end the match, and two minutes into them, Burton almost found their fourth goal of the afternoon as Sordell played in Cole who drew a fabulous one-handed save from Roberts, who tipped the ball behind, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The Brewers opted to make their final change of the afternoon four minutes into the allotted stoppage time, with Damien McCrory making way for Ben Fox, but that would be the last action as full-time was called on the game with the Brewers winning by three-goals-to-one.

A poor first-half performance from the Saddlers, who allowed their visitors to run rings around them, followed by a better second-half, though by then the damage had already been done. Hopefully mistakes will be learnt from in time for Tuesday evenings clash with Charlton Athletic.

1 - 3
Cook (77')

Allen (13')
Cole (25')
Fraser (47')
Attendance: 5,297 (559)
Referee: Kevin Johnson
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