FA Cup Match Report: Sunderland 0 Walsall 1 FA Cup Match Report: Sunderland 0 Walsall 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

FA Cup Match Report: Sunderland 0 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Emirates FA Cup - Second Round Replay between Sunderland and Walsall.
The Saddlers and Black Cats met at the Stadium of Light to decide which side would advance to the Third Round of this season's FA Cup with a match against Bolton Wanderers already scheduled for the victor.

Duncan Watmore got the match underway for Sunderland, who started brightly, winning the first corner of the game in just the second minute, but Jack Baldwin was unable to keep Max Power’s ball in on target, nodding wide.

The hosts continued to enjoy plenty of time on the ball as the opening minutes ticked by, without really creating anything to worry the Walsall defences, as balls in from both Chris Maguire and Luke O’Nien were missed by Jerome Sinclair.

Just eleven minutes in, Chris Maguire became the first player to enter the referee’s notebook, picking up an early yellow card for a foul on Kieron Morris.

As we reached the quarter hour mark, Walsall created their first half-chance of the evening, as Morris found himself in space twenty-five yards from goal and fired a shot into the side-netting. The hosts were quick to get the ball back up to the other end, where Russell Martin was called into action, blocking a shot from Watmore, with the rebound falling back to the midfielder, who saw his second effort put behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

The home team continued to see much of the ball, but were largely contained to the midfield area, with the Saddlers limiting their opportunities to break forwards, but twenty-four minutes in, Walsall won possession and Morris setting Josh Ginnelly racing through on goal, but the midfielders saw his right-footed effort saved.

In the thirty-seventh minute, Duncan Watmore joined Maguire in the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a high challenge on Jon Guthrie.

The Saddlers should have opened the scoring in the thirty-ninth minute, but a brave save from Sunderland shot-stopper, Jon McLaughlin was enough to deny Josh Gordon after some superb work from Morgan Ferrier looked to have played the striker in.

Walsall continued to look the brighter side as we raced towards the break, creating another good chance to open the scoring in the forty-third minute, as Ginnelly cut inside and fired an effort goal-wards, though unfortunately he was unable to find the target as the ball instead hit the side-netting.

One additional minute was added to end the half but neither side was able to create anything further, and the sides eventually headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

0 - 0

The sides returned unchanged following the interval, and Walsall got the second-half underway. The hosts started the half well, with Watmore picking up the ball on the edge of the box less than a minute in before sending an effort soaring over the bar. The game then calmed a little as both sides took time to settle back into it.

With fifty-two minutes on the clock, the Saddlers found the breakthrough. Liam Kinsella picking up the ball twenty-five yards from goal and firing a thunderous effort beyond McLaughlin.

Sunderland opted to make a double change to their line-up in the fifty-eighth minute, as Jerome Sinclair and Dylan McGeouch making way for Josh and Lee Cattermole.

The home side set about looking to restore parity and created a decent opportunity to do so in the sixty-second minute, but Watmore’s curling shot took a deflection off Martin on it’s way through the box, sending the ball out for a corner, which Walsall successfully defended.

Five minutes later, the hosts won another corner, from which O’Nien looked to be in at the back post, but the defender’s headed effort trickled just the wrong side of the goalposts.

Seventy-four minutes in, Luke O’Nien became the third player to enter the referee’s notebook, seeing yellow for a foul on Ginnelly. Two minutes later, Jon Guthrie joined them, also picking up a booking for a foul.

The game continued with chances few and far between as the sides cancelled each other out in midfield, and Sunderland opted make their third and final change of the evening in the seventy-seventh minute, as Bali Mumba took the place of Duncan Watmore.

Sunderland almost secured a late equaliser in the eighty-sixth minute, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Bryan Oviedo almost converted with a curling right-footed effort from a tight angle, but the ball sailed safely past the far post without causing Walsall ‘keeper, Liam Roberts too much cause for concern.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, though it took until the fourth of them for either side to create anything, the hosts winning a corner as Morris was forced to turn an Oviedo effort behind, but the Walsall defences stood firm and full time was called with the visitors one-goal lead intact. The Saddlers somewhat unexpectedly securing an FA Cup third round tie away to Bolton Wanderers in January.

0 - 1

Kinsella (52')
Attendance: 8,212 (201)
Referee: Michael Salisbury
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