Match Report: Peterborough United 1 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Peterborough United and Walsall.
The Saddlers arrived at this weekend's game on the back of last Saturday's dismal defeat to then bottom-of-the-table Bradford City, a match which saw them concede four goals without reply as the Bantams took advantage of a dreadful performance.

The match got off to a decent start, with neither side really able to outshine their opponents in the opening few minutes as both settled into the game. With five minutes on the clock, Walsall created the first opening of the game, winning a corner which Luke Leahy swung into the box expertly meeting Jon Guthrie, who headed goal-wards, but with bodies on the line, Peterborough United managed to clear the danger.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as the action continued, with both teams seeing plenty of the ball without creating much going forwards, until, in the twelfth minute, the Saddlers worked Kane Wilson into shooting range, but the defenders effort was deflected behind for a corner kick, which came to nothing.

The visitors continued to look the brighter side as the game continued, though they were unable to create any further real chances on goal.

With twenty-four minutes on the clock, Peterborough won their first corner of the afternoon, as Nicky Devlin turned the ball behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing. Posh then won a second corner moments later, as the ball was put of play by Guthrie following a free-kick, but the hosts were also unable to make use of the second flag-kick.

Peterborough continued to grow into the game, and created their first real chance of the afternoon in the twenty-ninth minute, as some good work from Ivan Toney saw the striker pick up the ball twenty yards from goal and fire a low effort goal-wards, but Walsall ‘keeper, Liam Roberts made a diving save to keep the ball out.

Four minutes later, with the hosts still looking the more dominant side, Siriki Dembele beat Devlin to get a shot away, but the ball was met by one of his team-mates, who blocked the effort allowing Walsall to clear.

Moments later, Peterborough should have taken the lead, as Louis Reed set up Toney with a curling cross, only for the forward to mistime his shot, sending the ball well wide of Roberts’ upright.

The Saddlers then finally worked the ball back up to the other end, were Liam Kinsella did well to get a cross away, which Wilson picked up, but Wilson’s effort was wide of the mark and didn’t trouble Conor O’Malley in the Peterborough goal.

With thirty-seven minutes on the clock, Andy Cook became the first player to enter the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Rhys Bennett, who he could with an elbow to the face.

Five minutes before the break, with the Saddlers still pressing, Josh Gordon fired a right-footed effort in from outside the box, but O’Malley was alert and made an easy save.

The hosts soon had the ball back at the other end, where Dembele fired an effort in from twelve yards out, which was deflected behind for a corner by Jack Fitzwater, but the ball in from the flag-kick was poor and Walsall cleared.

One additional minute was added to end the half, which Walsall took full advantage of, as a defensive mix-up allowed Devlin to head the ball across goal, where an unmarked Isaiah Osbourne picked it up, six yards from goal and headed home, putting his side a goal to the good heading into the break.

0 - 1

Peterborough opted to make a change as the sides returned after the break, with Mark O’Hara taking the place of Louis Reed as the second-half got underway. Just a minute into the half, Peterborough won a corner, which Marcus Maddison swung into the box for Toney, who placed his header perfectly, drawing the sides level.

The Saddlers responded well to being pegged back, winning a corner moments after the goal, which Leahy swung into the box for Cook, but the strikers effort on goal was blocked just six yards shy of the line, gifting Walsall a second corner, which came to nothing.

With fifty-six minutes on the clock, the hosts opted to make their second change of the afternoon, replacing Matt Godden with Mathew Stevens.

Two minutes after the change, the Saddlers went close to regaining their lead, with Osbourne picking out Liam Kinsella just outside the box, but Jason Naismith was well placed to block the low driven effort off the line.

Peterborough then began to enjoy a brighter spell, without really troubling the Saddlers defences. Once Walsall were able to win back possession, they sailed up to the other end, where a dangerous cross from Josh Gordon would have played Cook in, were it not for Colin Daniel who did well to get back to clear the danger.

With seventy-three minutes on the clock, the Saddlers were forced to make their first change of the game, as a knock to Isaiah Osbourne meant the midfielder was unable to continue, and after a short spell of treatment, George Dobson as introduced in his place. The move also drew another yellow card from the referee, with Marcus Maddison picking up a booking for the foul.

The hosts opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon in the seventy-seventh minute, with George Cooper being introduced in place of Siriki Dembele.

The game became something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side really able to break forwards, as they were cancelled out by their opponents defences, but seventy-nine minutes in, Cook managed to get a right-footed shot away, which was blocked.

As we headed into the final ten minutes of the match, the Saddlers should have regained their lead, as a delightful cross from Kieron Morris found Gordon in great position, but the striker headed the ball straight into the waiting arms of O’Malley.

That would be Josh Gordon’s final involvement in the game, as, in the eighty-first minute, Walsall opted to make a second change to their line-up, replacing the striker with Morgan Ferrier for the final nine or so minutes.

The hosts created a late chance to take all three points in the eighty-eighth minute, but Maddison’s, low, left-footed, twenty-five yard effort sailed wide of the far post.

In the eighty-ninth minute, Walsall were awarded a penalty, as Devlin raced through on goal and was brought down by O’Malley. Leahy stepped up to take the spot-kick, but O’Malley redeemed himself, getting down to save the low shot.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time, Walsall should have again taken the lead, but Cook’s shot was saved on the line by O’Malley, who turned the ball back to Cook whose second attempt was also saved by the Posh shot-stopper.

That would be the last real action of the game, with Walsall unable to replicate their first-half extra time goal. The game ultimately being settled in two frenetic minutes either side of the interval and the sides sharing the spoils as time was called.

1 - 1
Toney (47')
Osbourne (45+1')
Attendance: 7,243 (262)
Referee: Paul Marsden
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