Match Report: Coventry City 3 Walsall 0 Match Report: Coventry City 3 Walsall 0

Match Report: Coventry City 3 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Coventry City and Walsall.
The Saddlers arrived at their awayday clash with the Sky Blues on the back of four consecutive defeats and in desperate need of both an improved performance and positive result.

Dean Keates' side have been in poor form for quite some time and have to get back to winning ways soon or they could well be lying their trade in the fourth tier of English football in 2019/10.

After a minute’s applause in memory of 1966 World Cup winner, Gordon Banks, Tom Bayliss got the action underway. Walsall started the game brightly, with a good move from captain Joe Edwards setting Aramide Oteh away in the opening minutes, but the move came to a premature end as there was nobody there to meet the striker’s low cross into the box.

Coventry City created their first half-chance of the afternoon in just the seventh minute, with Luke Thomas beating his man to create space to get a shot away, but Dan Scarr was well placed to deflect the effort behind, with the resulting corner being headed over the bar from close range by former Saddler, Amadou Bakayoko.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, though neither were able to create much going forwards as they cancelled each other out.

With twenty-four minutes on the clock, the Sky Blues created the first real chance of the afternoon, bringing Liam Roberts in to play, as the Walsall shot-stopper was forced to tip a deflected twenty-five yard effort from City captain, Liam Kelly behind, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The hosts found a breakthrough in the twenty-ninth minute, as Bakayoko got between the Walsall defences in the centre of the box to head home a cross from Dujon Sterling.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly, with Edwards firing an effort goal-wards from outside the box three minutes later, but David Stockdale made an easy save.

With thirty-five minutes played, Bright Enobakhare became the first name added to the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card after letting his frustrations get the better of him.

Things went from bad to worse for Walsall in the thirty-sixth minute, as another former Saddler, Jordy Hiwula netted Coventry’s second of the afternoon, taking the ball from Nicky Devlin and finding his way into the box with ease before coolly slotting past Roberts into the far corner.

Again, the visiting side looked to respond, but Andy Cook’s forty-first minute, long-range strike sailed over the bar without troubling the man between the sticks.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, as Dujon called Roberts into action to deny the hosts a third goal before the break. That would be the last action of note before referee, Anthony Backhouse called time on the opening forty-five.

2 - 0

The sides returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the match back underway. It took a while for the teams to settle back into the game, but seven minutes in, Coventry almost extended their lead to three, with Bayliss firing a rising effort goal-wards from twenty yards, forcing Roberts to pull off a spectacular save to tip the ball away from the top corner. The flag-kick saw Enobakhare fire a right-footed effort high and wide.

With fifty-seven minutes played, Dean Keates opted to make the first change of the afternoon, as Aramide Oteh made way for Corey Blackett-Taylor.

Moments after the substitution, Coventry again went close to a third, as Hiwula beat his man to fire a shot goal-wards, with Roberts turning the ball into the path of Enobakhare, who blazed his effort over the bar, when it was probably easier to score.

Roberts was again the hero in the sixty-first minute, as the shot-stopper pulled off another fine save to deny Hiwula, whose low, powerful effort was denied only by the feet of the ‘keeper. The resulting corner was cleared by the Saddlers, only as far as Brandon Mason on the edge of the box, with the defenders effort sailing inches wide of the upright.

Coventry really should have had the game put to bed, but with the Saddlers struggling to keep the ball for any length of time, they were not being forced to rue their missed chances, with another chance being missed in the sixty-fifth minute as Roberts was again called into action to deny the hosts, as Thomas beat Scott Laird and fired a left-footed effort in from the centre of the box.

In the seventy-third minute, City were gifted a chance to make all their hard work pay, winning a penalty as Jack Fitzwater was punished for tripping Enobakhare in the area, with the striker stepping forward to take the spot-kick, firing a right-footed effort past Roberts, into the bottom left corner to extend Coventry’s lead to three.

That would be Bright Enobakhare’s final contribution to the game, with the striker being replaced by Conor Chaplin in the seventy-sixth minute.

In the seventy-ninth minute, Edwards fired Walsall’s first chance of the second-half goal-wards, but the eighteen yard effort was easily saved by Stockdale.

The hosts were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, where Roberts was again called into action, this time to deny the recently introduced Chaplin who had worked his way into space on the edge of the area before firing a low, left-footed effort in.

Eighty-three minutes in, City opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Tom Bayliss making way for David Meyler.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the seventy-seventh minute, whilst Mason received treatment for a knock, but the defender was soon up and able to see out the game.

Three additional minutes were added to end the game, as the Saddlers won their first corner of the afternoon. The ball in fell to Cook inside the box, but the strikers effort sailed wide.

The hosts opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon a minute into added time, with Charlie Wakefield taking the place of Luke Thomas. That would be the last action of note, as the Sky Blues saw out the game with their three-goal-to-nil lead intact.

Another dismal performance from the Saddlers, who were lucky to only ship three, in a game in which they barely registered a shot on goal. With so much riding on games this late into the season, the boys from the Bescot really ought to be leaving it all out there, but too often appear rather lackadaisical in their approach.

3 - 0
Bakayoko (29')
Hiwula (36')
Enobakhare [P] (73')

Attendance: 10,646 (821)
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
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