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

FA Cup Match Report: Walsall 1 Sunderland 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Emirates FA Cup - Second Round clash between Walsall and Sunderland.
The Saddlers and Black Cats arrived at this match looking to book a place in Monday evening's Third Round draw. Walsall, who were held to a draw by Sunderland last weekend, hoping to reach the Third Round for the fist time in many years.

Josh Maja got the match underway, but it was Walsall who looked the more likely to open the scoring in the early goings, winning a corner in just the third minute as a dangerous cross into the box forced Jack Baldwin to clear behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing.

Just two minutes later, Sunderland created their opening chance of the game, as a neat cross into the box was collected by Maja but Jon Guthrie was on hand to block the effort on goal, turning the ball behind for a corner, which also came to nothing.

The visiting side continued to press, with Adam Matthews being Luke Leahy in the tenth minute, to set up Aiden McGeady, but the midfielder scuffed his shot allowing Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts to make an easy save at his near post.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, but the Saddlers broke as we reached the quarter hour mark, with a fabulous first-time cross from Leahy looking likely to play Andy Cook in, but the striker was just unable to get a touch on the ball when the Sunderland defences appeared beaten.

Sunderland soon had the ball back up at the other end, where Roberts was forced into action again, turning the ball behind to deny Maja a close range goal after the striker tried to flick a Bryan Oviedo effort home.

The even contest continued, with neither side really taking control, though Sunderland did win a corner in the twenty-eighth minute as a McGeady effort was turned behind. The ball in from the left found Maja out on the right with the striker crossing the ball back into the box allowing Max Power a shot on goal, which Isaiah Osbourne blocked.

Andy Cook picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon in the thirty-fourth minute, entering the referee’s notebook for a late challenge on Baldwin.

With thirty-seven minutes on the clock, McGeady fired Sunderland into the lead, turning a low effort home after some good work from Oviedo and Maja set him up. The visitors set about looking to double their advantage instantly, but a good defensive header from Nicky Devlin ensured Matthews effort only won a corner for the Black Cats, which Walsall cleared, winning a corner themselves at the other end just two minutes later, which also came to nothing.

One additional minute was played to end the first-half, but neither side was able to create anything further and the sides headed into the break with Sunderland a goal to the good.

0 - 1

The sides returned unchanged after the break and Walsall got the second-half underway, winning a corner inside the opening minute as Tom Flanagan was forced to put the ball behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing.

The second booking of the afternoon came in just the forty-ninth minute, as Adam Matthews saw yellow for handball.

The Saddlers almost drew level in the fifty-second minute, as Devlin headed the ball across the face of goal, with none of his team-mates able to get to it to tap it home. Seconds later, they more fortunate as Devlin’s cross from the right was met by Cook who fired a twelve yard effort home to bring the sides back onto level terms.

Sunderland were quick to get the ball back to the other end as they set about looking to restore their advantage, winning a corner in the fifty-fifth minute as Jon Guthrie was forced to put the ball out of play, but an offside infringement ensured nothing was to come of the flag-kick.

Walsall continued to look the brighter of the sides, almost finding themselves ahead as we reached the hour mark as captain George Dobson and Ferrier combined after some good work from Cook set the side away, but the final ball into the box evaded everyone.

The action continued apace, with Ferrier continuing to trouble the Sunderland defences with crosses into the box. The striker picked out Josh Gordon in the sixty-second minute, but the effort on goal was poor and easily claimed by visiting ‘keeper, Jon McLaughlin.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, Sunderland opted to make their first change of the afternoon, introducing Jerome Sinclair in place of Bryan Oviedo.

Walsall continued to search for a second goal and soon had the ball back in the Sunderland area, but Cook’s headed effort at the back post in the sixty-fourth minute looped onto the crossbar.

Fifteen minutes from time, Sunderland opted to make their second change of the afternoon, replacing Lyndon Gooch with Bali Mumba.

The pace slowed after the change, which altered Sunderland’s formation, with much of the action confined to the midfield area as both sides struggled to create anything going forwards.

Sunderland won a corner ten minutes from time, with Baldwin getting on the end of McGeady’s ball into the box, but the defender was unable to keep his headed effort down and the ball sailed over the bar without troubling Roberts in the Walsall goal.

The Saddlers then had a chance to put themselves ahead in the eighty-third minute as a cross from Gordon was met by Cook, who headed the ball into the waiting arms of McLaughlin when he really should have scored. Moments later, Devlin saw a right-footed shot from range blocked as his side continued to search for a late winner.

In the eighty-eighth minute, Dean Keates opted to make the first change to his line-up, introducing Josh Ginnelly in place of Morgan Ferrier for the final few minutes.

The visiting side set about looking for a last gasp winner as we raced towards three additional minutes, but Liam Kinsella remained alert for the Saddlers to deny Luke O’Nien with a crucial block.

Neither side was able to find a late breakthrough, and the teams both headed into Monday evenings third round draw, with a third game in a matter of weeks needed to separate the sides.

1 - 1
Cook (53')
McGeady (37')
Attendance: 3,140 (948)
Referee: Carl Boyeson
You can keep up to date with all the latest Walsall FC news across our social media channels, we're on 𝕏, Facebook, Threads, and Instagram. We also offer updates via Google News.
If you appreciate our coverage, please consider buying us a coffee via Ko-fi. You can also sign up to make regular contributions via Patreon.
Previous Post Next Post