Match Report: Walsall 0 AFC Wimbledon 1

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League One clash between Walsall and visitors, AFC Wimbledon.
Both the Saddlers and Dons arrived at the match in dire need of three points with bottom-of-the-table Wimbledon in particular need of a positive result as they sat ten points from safety with just fifteen games remaining.

After a minutes applause in memory of 1966 World Cup winner, Gordon Banks, Joe Edwards got the match underway. Walsall began the game brightly, winning a free-kick inside the opening three minutes as a tug on Liam Kinsella saw the first yellow card of the game awarded to Anthony Hartigan. Luke Leahy fired a right-footed effort in from the set-piece, with the ball sailing narrowly over from just outside the box.

A foul by Kinsella two minutes later, saw AFC Wimbledon awarded a free-kick of their own in dangerous position, twenty-five yards from goal. Anthony Wordsworth stepped forward to take the kick, drawing a superb save from Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts who did well to tip the ball round the post. The resulting corner saw Kinsella put the ball behind for a second flag-kick, which came to nothing as the Saddlers continued to defend well.

The visitors continued to see much of the early ball, without really causing their hosts any problems going forwards.

As we reached the quarter hour mark, the second yellow card of the game was shown, with Dons captain, Adedeji Oshilaja the recipient after fouling Kinsella.

With eighteen minutes on the clock, a good move from the Saddlers saw Wimbledon ‘keeper, Aaron Ramsdale called into action to deny Aramide Oteh after some good build-up play from Leahy and Andy Cook played the striker in.

Back at the other end, moments later, Roberts was called into action again, racing off his line to block an effort from Michael Folivi, with Wordsworth firing a follow up effort over the bar from the centre of the box.

The end-to-end action continued, with Cook seeing a right footed effort from range blocked in the twenty-fifth minute.

The hosts continued to enjoy a brighter spell, winning a free-kick in the twenty-seventh minute for a foul by Oshilaja on Cook. Saddlers captain, Edwards delivered the ball into the box, where Cook rose well to meet it, but the strikers header flashed narrowly wide of Ramsdale’s upright. Walsall continued to press, with Cook firing wide himself two minutes later.

The Dons soon had the ball back in the Walsall half, testing Roberts again in the thirty-third minute with a low Shane McLoughlin effort intended for the bottom corner. The Saddlers ‘keeper was equal to it though, getting down well to deny the striker.

There was a brief pause in proceedings in the thirty-fourth minute whilst Oshilaja received treatment for an injury, but the Dons captain was soon up and able to continue.

There was another delay to the game four minutes later whilst Isaiah Osbourne received treatment, but like Oshilaja, he was soon back to his feet and able to see out the first-half.

Three minutes before the first-half ended, the Saddlers went close to opening the scoring as a superb move Josh Gordon saw the striker beat three men to deliver a cross in to Oteh, who should have scored, but was unable to get a good enough connection on the ball, sending his headed effort off target.

The hosts continued to press as we headed into the two additional minutes added to end the half, with Jon Guthrie turning well in the box before unleashing a powerful effort on goal, but Ramsdale remained alert and parried the shot.

That would be the last action of the first-half, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

0 - 0

The sides returned unchanged after the break, and Wimbledon got the game back underway. The visitors started the half brightly, winning a corner just a minute in as Leahy was forced to put the ball out of play. The flag-kick fell to Folivi, who fired a right-footed effort goal-wards, only to see Gordon block the effort on the line.

The Dons were luckier in the forty-eighth minute as their good start continued, as a Folivi effort was blocked by Roberts, only for Steve Seddon to fire home the rebound from close range. Seddon would then receive the third yellow card of the evening, picking up a booking for his celebration.

The visiting side went close to a second five minutes later, as Joe Pigott found himself through on goal, but with Roberts beaten, the striker clipped the inside of the post with his effort, allowing the Saddlers to breathe a sigh of relief.

Dean Keates opted to make a double change to his side in the fifty-sixth minute as he looked to shake things up, introducing Matt Jarvis and Zeli Ismail in place of Joe Edwards and Aramide Oteh.

Three minutes after the Walsall substitutions, the Dons again went close to securing a second goal, with Roberts again the Saddlers hero as the ‘keeper got down in time to deny Pigott from a tight angle.

The Saddlers were finally able to alleviate the pressure as we raced past the hour mark, working the ball up to the other end, where Will Nightingale was forced to put the ball behind, but the Saddlers were unable to make anything of the opportunity, as Cook’s right-footed effort was blocked.

The hosts continued to enjoy a better period, calling Ramsdale into action in the sixty-fifth minute to deny Jarvis after some good work from Leahy played him in.

With sixty-six minutes on the clock, Wimbledon opted to make their first change of the evening, introducing Mitchell Pinnock in place of Joe Pigott.

After a quiet ten minute spell, with the Dons looking to waste as much time as possible to see out the game, the visitors opted to make their second change of the game, with Toby Sibbick making way for Terell Thomas for the final fifteen minutes.

With eighty-one minutes on the clock, Andy Cook found his name added to the referee’s notebook, seeing yellow for a foul on Nightingale.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as we ebbed towards full-time, with little on display from either side, until Cameron Norman picked up the ball just outside the box in the eighty-seventh minute and fired an effort in on goal, but with just a little too much height on it, the ball sailed over the bar.

Four additional minutes were shown by the officials as Cook dragged an effort wide from the edge of area.

There was little further action of note, though Dan Scarr saw yellow in the ninety-third minute for a foul on McLoughlin. The Dons seeing out the game to take all three points back to London as the Saddlers slumped to another defeat. Another poor performance from the Saddlers, who continue to show a severe lack of prowess in front of goal.

0 - 1

Seddon (48')
Attendance: 3,287 (163)
Referee: Chris Sarginson
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