FA Cup Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 5 Walsall 2 FA Cup Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 5 Walsall 2
Posted by: Bescot Banter

FA Cup Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 5 Walsall 2

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Emirates FA Cup - Third Round clash between Bolton Wanderers and Walsall.
The Saddlers arrived at this weekend's clash on the back of a disappointing defeat to Charlton Athletic and on the look out for a bit of cup respite with Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers their hosts for the afternoon.

George Dobson got the match underway, and his side began the game brightly, winning a corner in just the third minute as Bolton Captain, David Wheater was forced to put the ball behind. The Walsall captain went close from the flag-kick, clipping the top of the post as the ball sailed behind for a goal-kick.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy the better of the early action, with Andy Cook creating space a few minutes later, as he charged towards the box, but a challenge from Wheater brought a stop to the move before the striker could get a shot away. The visiting side continued to press, and felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the eighth minute, as some good build-up play from Zeli Ismail and Cook played in Matt Jarvis, who was felled in the box, but the referee was unmoved by the appeals and waved play on.

Bolton Wanderers began to grow into the game as the action continued, winning a corner in the ninth minute, which the Saddlers defences were able to clear, before a right-footed effort from distance was fired goal-wards by Yanic Wildschut, which the visiting defences were also equal to.

Walsall were quick to work the ball back up to the other end though, where some neat play from Morgan Ferrier looked to have set Cook up, but a tight offside decision ensured Bolton shot-stopper, Ben Alnwick would not be tested.

With nineteen minutes on the clock, the Saddlers early dominance began to reflect in the scoreline, when a delightful, curling cross to the back post from Jarvis was headed into the bottom corner by Cook to put the League One club a goal to the good.

Not content with the one goal, the Saddlers set about looking to extend their advantage, with Jarvis going close with a right-footed effort from just outside the box in the twenty-second minute.

Bolton then created a half-chance of their own four minutes later, but Wildschut’s right-footed effort from twelve yards trickled wide of Liam Roberts upright without troubling the Walsall shot-stopper. The hosts continued to press, and again went close in the twenty-ninth minute, as Jason Lowe played in Craig Noone, who worked his way into space before firing a twenty-five yard effort inches over the bar.

The hosts continued to grow more into the game as we raced through the half-hour mark, seeing another chance to draw level missed as Luke Murphy’s effort from inside the box was blocked by an alert Nicky Devlin.

The Saddlers looked almost certain to double their advantage in the thirty-eighth minute, as a beautiful ball through from Devlin was met by Ferrier, but a last gasp tackle from Mark Beevers prevented the shot being taken.

The hosts missed undoubtedly their best chance of the game in the thirty-ninth minute, as a cross from Noone was met by Murphy at the far post, only for the midfielders tame header to loop safely into the waiting arms of the Saddlers shot-stopper, who held the ball well to deny Bolton an equaliser.

With forty-one minutes on the clock, Josh Magennis became the first player to enter the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a late challenge on Dobson.

There was little further action as the first-half drew to a close, and after one additional minute was played, the sides headed back to their respective dressing rooms for their half-time refreshments.

0 - 1

Bolton opted to make a double change as the teams returned, introducing Will Buckley and Clayton Donaldson in place of Josh Vela and Yanic Wildschut before they got the second-half action underway. Donaldson almost made an immediate impact following his introduction, beating his man before seeing his effort on goal blocked by Dobson, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The Saddlers soon had the ball up at the other end, where Ferrier picked up the ball twenty yards from goal and fired a curling effort towards the bottom corner, but Alnwick got enough on the ball to turn it away.

With fifty-four minutes played, second-half arrival, Clayton Donaldson became the second player to receive a caution, picking up a yellow card for a late challenge on Liam Kinsella.

Moments later, Bolton had the ball in the back of the net after a scramble in the box, but a handball in the build-up meant that the goal was disallowed.

Walsall were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, where Devlin and Cook combined to create a chance, but the latter’s headed effort was easily held by Alnwick.

Fifty-eight minutes into the game, Bolton drew level, winning a corner which was played short before the ball eventually fell to Donaldson, who rifled the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Buoyed by their goal, the home side took the lead just three minutes after finding their first, as a cross from Noone was parried by Roberts, falling to Magennis who needed no second invitation to tap the ball into the empty net. Poor defending from the Saddlers, who should have done more to back up their ‘keeper.

Just five minutes after securing their first goal of the afternoon, Bolton found a third, putting daylight between the sides as they turned the game on it’s head. A neat cross from Noone causing the Saddlers defences problems, with the ball ultimately being turned into his own net by Jon Guthrie.

Five minutes later, an own goal at the other end gave the Saddlers hope, with a strong strike from Dobson from the edge of the area deflecting off Beevers to bring the visitors back to within a goal of their Championship opposition.

In the seventieth minute, Walsall opted to make their first change of the afternoon, replacing Matt Jarvis with Kieron Morris for the final twenty minutes.

Walsall should have drawn level in the seventy-third minute, winning a corner, which was played into the box by Luke Leahy and met by Cook, but the strikers glancing header sailed wide of the upright, with Guthrie mere inches away from turning the ball home at the far post.

Fifteen minutes from time, the Saddlers opted to make their second change of the afternoon, introducing Maziar Kouhyar in place of Zeli Ismail.

Moments after the change, the hosts went close to extending their lead, as some good hold up play from Magennis allowed Donaldson into space, before he picked out Buckley with a neat pass, but the eventual effort on goal was tame, and well held by Roberts. Buckley had another effort on goal moments later, but his shot from the edge of the area found Roberts’ upright.

With eighty minutes on the clock, Bolton found their fourth goal of the afternoon, as a cross in from the left from Noone was met by Magennis who headed home to all but put the tie to bed, with his side two goals to the good with just ten minutes to play.

Three minutes later, with the ball back at the other end, the Saddlers set about trying to get back into the game, and they should have done just that, but after superbly controlling the ball on his chest, Cook’s volley cannoned off the crossbar. The visitors so unlucky not to shorten their opposition’s lead.

Six minutes from time, Morgan Ferrier was added to the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for time wasting.

With just three minutes remaining of the regulation ninety, Magennis claimed the match ball, securing a hat-trick after his initial effort on goal clipped the post, rebounding to allow him a simple tap in into an empty net.

In the eighty-ninth minute, with the game wrapped up, Bolton opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon, introducing Luca Connell in place of Luke Murphy.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, but the Saddlers second-half capitulation was already complete and after a quiet few minutes were played out, the full-time whistle was blown with Bolton Wanderers running out five-goal-to-two winners. A dismal second forty-five from the travelling side, after a solid first-half performance, not for the first time this season.

5 - 2
Donaldson (58')
Magennis (61')
Guthrie [OG] (63')
Magennis (80')
Magennis (87')
Cook (19')
Beevers [OG] (68')

Attendance: 5,506 (1,498)
Referee: Darren England
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