Match Report: Charlton Athletic 2 Walsall 1 Match Report: Charlton Athletic 2 Walsall 1

Match Report: Charlton Athletic 2 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from the New Year's Day Sky Bet League One clash between Charlton Athletic and Walsall.
Walsall arrived at the Valley looking to start 2019 with a win, the Saddlers failing to secure victory in any of their four previous league outings, putting them among the League One strugglers.

Karlan Ahearne-Grant got the match underway, but it was Walsall who enjoyed the brighter start, winning a free-kick in just the second minute. Saddlers captain, George Dobson played the set-piece goal-wards from the edge of the box, but Charlton Athletic ‘keeper, Dillon Phillips made an easy save, from which the Addicks broke, with Nicky Devlin pulling off a fantastic move at the other end to deny Lyle Taylor.

With six minutes on the clock, Charlton took the lead, after a poor pass from Morgan Ferrier allowed Tarique Fosu-Henry to play in Ahearne-Grant who fired a right-footed effort home. A poor goal to concede from the Saddlers.

Just two minutes later, a foul from Jack Fitzwater on Taylor in the box saw the defender shown the first yellow card of the afternoon, and a penalty awarded to the hosts, which Taylor slotted home to double his sides advantage.

The home side continued to dominate as the match continued, winning a corner in the eleventh minute, which came to nothing, before winning another three minutes later, from which Fosu-Henry attempted a right-footed effort from outside the box, but the Walsall defences were well placed and blocked the strike.

In the sixteenth minute, the Addicks went close to furthering their advantage, winning a free-kick, which Ben Reeves curled over a four-man wall, with the ball ultimately sailing inches wide of Liam Roberts upright.

Charlton continued to press, and again created a chance in the twenty-third minute as Ahearne-Grant was released and raced into the box, but Jon Guthrie was alert to the danger and made a superb tackle to put the ball out of play, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The early pace slowed a little as we raced through the half hour mark, with the home side continuing to enjoy much of the possession as the visitors struggled to really get into the game.

In the thirty-sixth minute, the Saddlers found themselves able to break, with Andy Cook doing well to play in Josh Gordon, who opted to fire a tame effort straight into the waiting arms of the Addicks shot-stopper, when a pass to Ferrier, away to his left, would almost certainly have brought his side to within a goal of their hosts.

There was then a brief pause in proceedings as Krystian Bielik went down holding his head, but after a short spell of treatment the defender was able to reprise his role and the action got back underway.

The Saddlers continued to show signs of improvement as we raced towards the break, with a clever forty-second minute move from Dobson setting Devlin away, before the midfielder crossed the ball in for Gordon whose right-footed effort on goal was headed off the line by Naby Sarr.

With forty-four minutes on the clock, Joe Edwards became the second player to enter the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a late challenge.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time, the Saddlers continued to seek a route back into the game, with Phillips being tested by Gordon in the first of them, but the Addicks shot-stopper was equal to the effort, tipping the ball away.

Moments before the whistle, the Saddlers again got forward, forcing Patrick Bauer to put the ball behind, gifting the visitors a late corner, but the Charlton defences stood firm and dealt with the danger, before time was called and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments.

2 - 0

Both sides returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the match back underway. The Saddlers got the second-half off to a flying start, with Cook securing his eleventh goal of the season just two minutes in, turning inside the box before firing a left-footed effort past Phillips, into the bottom right-hand corner to bring his to within a goal of their hosts.

There was a halt to proceedings in the forty-ninth minute to allow Devlin to receive treatment, but he was soon up and able to continue.

Walsall continued to look the brighter side, winning a free-kick, which Luke Leahy swung into the box in the fifty-first minute, but after a bit of a scramble, Phillips was able to mop up the danger as the Saddlers failed to get to the ball in time.

The visiting side went close to equalising in the fifty-third minute, winning another free-kick, which Leahy played to Ferrier, whose ball across the face of goal was just too far ahead of Cook, who looked certain to score had he got there.

The hosts were finally able to clear the ball up to the other end in the fifty-fifth minute, as they set about trying to restore their two-goal advantage. The Addicks won a free-kick for their efforts, which Fosu-Henry fired towards the far corner of Roberts goal, but a well placed Walsall player blocked the effort. The resulting corner was played deep, but a foul on Roberts ensured Charlton were unable to make a further effort on goal.

With an hour played, the hosts thought they had found the goal to restore their earlier advantage, as Taylor headed home from a corner, but a foul on Roberts saw the goal disallowed.

The Saddlers soon had the ball back up at the other end, where some good work from Cook to pass three defenders, almost culminated in an equalising goal, but the strikers effort sailed inches wide of Phillips upright.

With sixty-six minutes on the clock, Luke Leahy found his way into the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Fosu-Henry. The resulting free-kick, from the edge of the box, was fired just over the crossbar by Ahearne-Grant.

Sixty-nine minutes into the contest, Josh Gordon joined the ranks in the referee’s notebook, seeing yellow for a late challenge on Reeves.

Walsall really should have drawn level in the seventy-first minute, as a superb low ball from Leahy was eventually picked up by Cook and fired goal-wards, but Bielik was well placed for the hosts to block the goal-bound effort.

Seventy-three minutes in, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Joe Edwards made way for Kieron Morris.

The visiting side continued to see plenty of the ball as the game continued, but eighty-one minutes in, Charlton managed to work the ball into the Saddlers area, where Taylor held up the ball well before seeing a deflected effort saved by Roberts.

With eighty-two minutes on the clock, the Addicks opted to make their first change of the game, replacing Ben Reeves with Darren Pratley. Walsall also took the opportunity to alter their line-up, with Josh Gordon making way for Zeli Ismail.

Three minutes later, the hosts opted to make their second change of the afternoon, bringing Mark Marshall on in place of Tarique Fosu-Henry.

Five additional minutes were added to end the encounter; time which the Saddlers used to look for a late equaliser, with Ismail unlucky not to connect with a cross from Leahy in the third of them, but that would be the last real action of note and the game finished with Charlton running out winners by two-goals-to-one. A poor opening forty-five from the Saddlers enough to ensure they would take no points home with them, as a superb second-half effort proved too little, too late for Dean Keates’ men.

2 - 1
Ahearne-Grant (6')
Taylor [P] (9')
Cook (47')

Attendance: 10,396 (172)
Referee: Ross Joyce
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