Match Report: Plymouth Argyle 2 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League One clash between Walsall and hosts, Plymouth Argyle.
Dean Keates' Saddlers arrived at the match on the back of Saturday's encouraging three-nil victory over Gillingham, a match which saw summer signing Andy Cook grab a well-deserved treble to secure the points for his side.

Plymouth Argyle started the game brightly, making an early dart for the Walsall box, with Graham Carey looking to set Freddie Ladapo up, but the Saddlers defences were alert and Cameron Norman cleared the danger.

The host continued to push forward in the early goings, almost finding a route through on goal six minutes in as a cross from Ruben Lameiras was deflected across the Walsall box, with the Saddlers a little fortunate that none of his Argyle team-mates were able to get on the end of it to turn it home.

Walsall dug in in the wet conditions, defending well before working the ball up to the other end, where they created the first real chance of the game after winning a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Luke Leahy curled into the box. Josh Gordon got his head to the in-swinging ball, but Kyle Letheren pulled off a fine save to deny him. The resulting corner was worked to Andy Cook at the back post, but the striker sliced an effort, which was comfortably saved.

Argyle soon had the ball back up at the other end, where a foul from Connor Johnson on Ruben saw them awarded a dangerous free-kick of their own. Yann Songo’o went close from the set-piece, but his headed, six yard effort sailed harmlessly over the crossbar when he really ought to have scored. The home side continued to press though, with Lameiras seeing a left-footed effort blocked in the sixteenth minute.

The game settled a little as the rain eased, but Argyle worked the ball forwards in the twenty-third minute, winning a corner which Niall Canavan headed over the crossbar without troubling Liam Roberts in the Walsall goal.

With twenty-six minutes on the clock, Isaiah Osbourne picked up the first booking of the game, seeing yellow for a sliding tackle on Ruben. The resulting free-kick, saw Carey work the ball to Ruben, who sliced an effort wide.

The visitors soon had the ball back in the Argyle half, winning a free-kick which the home defences cleared only as far as Walsall captain, Joe Edwards who fired an effort in from the edge of the box, but the ball sailed high and wide.

Thirty-six minutes in, Plymouth won a corner as Nicky Devlin was forced to divert a Gary Sawyer effort behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing with the Saddlers continuing to defend well.

The hosts continued to search for an advantage before the break, with Songo’o going close in the thirty-ninth minute. His headed effort from the centre of the box sailing inches wide of Roberts' upright.

Walsall won a corner with just a minute of the first-half remaining, as David Fox was forced to head a dangerous looking cross behind. Leahy fired a curling cross into the box from the flag-kick, which found Jon Guthrie, but the defender put too much on his close range effort, sending the ball sailing over the crossbar.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to make use of the time, and the teams headed back to their respective dressing rooms with the scores still tied.

0 - 0

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the second-half got underway. Walsall began the half brightly, creating a chance for Osbourne to open the scoring just two minutes after the re-start, but his right-footed effort from the centre of the box sailed narrowly wide.

Three minutes later, the hosts went close from a corner which found Ladapo waiting at the back post, but the striker was unable to control his shot, sending the ball out for a goal-kick.

Argyle were more fortunate four minutes later, winning a free-kick which was played into the box by Carey, where Ryan Edwards was on hand to head into the bottom right corner from close range to put his side ahead.

Walsall were quick to work the ball the ball back up to the other end, where Gordon and Matt Jarvis combined well before seeing an effort diverted behind. The resulting corner was played to Norman at the back post, but the defenders header clipped the post.

With fifty-seven minutes played, Josh Gordon became the second player to see his name entered into the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Songo’o.

Plymouth doubled their advantage in the sixty-fifth minute, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Carey played onto the head of Canavan who was waiting in the centre of the box to turn the ball home.

The hosts went close again two minutes later, with Songo’o seeing a right-footed effort from the edge of the box deflected behind by the Walsall captain. The resulting corner came to nothing.

Twenty minutes from time, the Saddlers opted to make a double change to their line-up, with Joe Edwards and Nicky Devlin making way for Zeli Ismail and George Dobson as the side looked to get back into the game.

Moments later, Plymouth opted to make their first change of the evening, introducing Ryan Taylor into the fray in place of Antoni Sarcevic.

Five minutes after making their first two changes, the Saddlers threw caution to the wind, making their third and final change of the evening, as Matt Jarvis made way for Liam Kinsella.

Seconds after the substitution, Cook went close for the Saddlers. A delightful cross finding the striker unmarked at the back post, but his headed effort sailed narrowly wide of Letheren’s upright.

With eighty-two minutes on the clock, Cook made up for the miss with a brilliant piece of individual skill, bringing the ball down on the edge of the box before passing several defenders and firing a low effort past Letheren to bring his side to within a goal of their hosts.

Two minutes later, Leahy almost drew the sides level after some good work from Cook and Gordon set him up at the back post, but the defender was unable to keep his effort on target, with the ball sailing over the bar.

The hosts felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the eighty-seventh minute, as Taylor was felled inside the box, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

In the final minute of regulation time, Yann Songo’o found his way into the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Gordon.

Four additional minutes were played to end the game, but neither side was able to create any further chances of note. The two goals from set-pieces enough to ensure all three points would remain on the south coast. A disappointing way for the Saddlers to follow-up Saturday's superb performance.

2 - 1
R.Edwards (54')
Canavan (65')
Cook (82')

Attendance: 8,446 (106)
Referee: John Busby
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