Match Report: Bradford City 4 Walsall 0 Match Report: Bradford City 4 Walsall 0
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Bradford City 4 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Bradford City and Walsall.
The Saddlers arrived at this afternoon's match in search of their third win in eight days having defeated Coventry City last weekend before knocking Sunderland out of the FA Cup on Tuesday evening.

Walsall got the match underway, looking resplendent in their third kit. The Saddlers began the game brightly, with Isaiah Osbourne looking to play his side in in just the third minute with a lofted cross into the box, which connected with a head, before Anthony O’Connor cleared the danger.

Three minutes later, the Saddlers won the first corner of the game, as O’Connor was again forced to clear following a surging run from Nicky Devlin down the right, but the flag-kick came to nothing.

Bradford City soon had the ball in the Walsall area, but Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts was on hand to deny Lewis O’Brien a close range effort. With twelve minutes on the clock, the hosts again broke into the box through Kelvin Mellor, who played a lovely low ball across the face of goal, which none of his teammates was able to get a decisive touch on to turn it home and the ball trickled out of play.

The hosts continued to enjoy plenty of possession as we continued, winning a corner in the thirteenth minute as a Jack Payne free-kick rebounded off the wall into the path of Paul Caddis, whose shot took a deflection as it sailed out of play, but the Saddlers stood firm and cleared the danger following the flag-kick.

Kieron Morris brought former Saddler, Richard O’Donnell into play in the seventeenth minute, doing well to create space on the edge of the area, before firing a low, driven twenty-five yard effort in on goal, but the Bradford ‘keeper had it covered.

O’Donnell faced more of a challenge in the twentieth minute, as a delightful cross from Luke Leahy found the head of Andy Cook just six yards from goal, but the Bantams ‘keeper was well placed to gather.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides struggling to break forward, until, in the twenty-ninth minute, George Miller called Roberts into action, but poor control let the midfielder down and the Walsall shot-stopper made a comfortable save.

The Saddlers soon had the ball up at the other end, with Morris doing well to break free of his marker, before seeing his effort cleared by O’Donnell. Walsall continued to press, with Cook playing Josh Ginnelly in on goal, but the Bantams defences were alert to the danger and cleared.

With thirty-four minutes on the clock, the hosts found the breakthrough, with O’Brien flashing a cross across the face of goal, which the Saddlers failed to deal with, allowing Caddis to riffle an effort passed Roberts.

City continued to press following the goal, winning a corner for their efforts in the thirty-ninth minute. The ball in from Payne was good, finding the head of Hope Akpan, but the goal-ward effort from the midfielder had too much height on it and looped onto the roof of the net.

The Saddlers should have levelled the scores in the forty-fourth minute, but Cook’s headed effort from a Leahy cross had just a little took much height on it as it clipped the crossbar.

One additional minute was played to end the half, but neither side was able to create anything further and they headed in for their half-time refreshments with Bradford enjoying a one-goal lead at the break.

1 - 0

The teams returned unchanged following the interval, and Bradford got the second-half underway. The hosts began the half brightly, creating the first chance just three minutes in, but O’Brien’s right-footed effort from outside the area sailed wide of the mark.

Bradford continued to enjoy plenty of the ball, and almost made it pay in the fiftieth minute as Payne saw an angled effort beaten away by Roberts, before Akpan picked up the rebound and curled an eighteen yard strike inches wide of the upright.

The home side made their early domination pay in the fifty-second minute, with Payne and Ball combining to double their sides advantage, as the latter picked up the ball on the edge of the area and slotted it beyond Roberts.

There was a brief pause in proceedings in the fifty-fourth minute whilst Adam Chicksen received treatment following a collision with Josh Gordon, but the defender was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

The Saddlers continued to struggle to get back into the game following the goal, and with sixty-one minutes on the clock, their task suffered a further blow as some poor defending allowed O’Brien to work the ball to Ball in the box, with the striker adding a third goal.

Walsall responded to the goal with a double change, replacing Kieron Morris and Josh Gordon with Conor Ronan and Morgan Ferrier.

With sixty-four minutes on the clock, Josh Ginnelly became the first player to enter the referee’s notebook for diving as he looked to win a free-kick for his side.

The hosts continued to dominate as they looked to further add to their tally, but a sixty-fifth minute effort from Mellor sailed over the bar, before the side won a corner three minutes later, which the Saddlers defended away.

Twenty minutes from time, the Bantams opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Hope Akpan making way for Karl Henry.

With seventy-five minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon, as Josh Ginnelly was asked to make way for Kane Wilson.

Two minutes later, Bradford chose to make their second change of the game, replacing Jack Payne with Eoin Doyle for the final thirteen or so minutes.

Doyle was involved moments after his arrival into the game, getting on the end of a cross from Ball and turning an effort goal-wards, but Roberts was alert to deny him. Just a minute later, with the ball up at the other end, the Saddlers created ostensibly their first chance of the second half, as a delightful cross from another recent introduction into the game, Ronan, fell to Cook who headed towards goal, but O’Donnell was well placed and did well to save.

In the eighty-third minute, Doyle’s introduction into the game paid dividends for Bradford, who further extended their advantage, as the forward bagged his sides fourth goal after some good work from Mellor played him in.

Karl Henry became the second player to see yellow in the eighty-fifth minute, picking up a booking for talking back to the referee after a talking to about his persistent fouling.

A minute later, the Bantams opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon, introducing Kai Brunker into the fray in place of George Miller.

Three additional minutes were added to end the game, which neither side used to great effect, and the final whistle blew with Bradford’s four-goal-to-nil scoreline intact. A dire afternoon from the Saddlers who barely looked to get going before shipping four goals. Further evidence, were it needed, of the sides inconsistent form, which desperately needs to be addressed during the rapidly approaching January transfer window.

4 - 0
Caddis (34')
Ball (52')
Ball (61')
Doyle (83')

Attendance: 15,314
Referee: Ben Toner
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