Match Report: Walsall 2 Fleetwood Town 0 Match Report: Walsall 2 Fleetwood Town 0

Match Report: Walsall 2 Fleetwood Town 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Belt League One clash between Walsall and Fleetwood Town.
The Saddlers arrived at this weekend's match looking to build upon last Saturday's draw with Burton Albion, and in search of more points to move further from the League One relegation zone.

After a minute’s applause in memory of Barrie Blower who passed away last month, Fleetwood Town got the match underway. The visitors began the game brightly, with James Husband looking to get the ball into the Walsall area in just the third minute, but the Saddlers defences stood firm to clear the early danger.

Walsall weren’t far behind in creating their first half-chance of the afternoon, as a superb thirty yard run from Zeli Ismail in the seventh minute, culminated in a low shot on goal being blocked behind for the first corner of the game. The flag-kick coming to nothing.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as both sides settled in, with neither able to cause the other problems going forwards, until the fifteenth minute when a break from Jason Holt allowed Ched Evans to play Paddy Madden in, but the Saddlers defences stood firm to clear the danger. The visiting side continued to press, with Wes Burns being played into space inside the area, but his cross was well cut out by Jon Guthrie.

The Saddlers began to get a foothold in the match as the action continued, with Ismail continuing to cause the visiting side problems, including a twentieth minute move which saw the midfielder create space to fire a low effort goal-wards, forcing Ashley Eastham into a last gasp block.

With twenty-seven minutes on the clock, Fleetwood drew the first real save of the afternoon from Saddlers shot-stopper, Liam Roberts after winning a free-kick thirty yards from goal. The Walsall ‘keeper doing well to turn Burns low effort round the post, with the resulting corner coming to nothing. The visitors continued to enjoy a forward momentum, going close again three minutes later, Ashley Hunter’s right-footed effort sailing narrowly wide of the upright.

Ten minutes before the break, the Saddlers won a corner, which saw a clearance kick fall to Joe Edwards, who fired a scorching eighteen yard volley inches over the bar.

The Trawlermen felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the thirty-ninth minute, as Hunter was felled in the area by Dan Scarr, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

One additional minute was added to end the cagey first-half, but neither side was able to create anything further and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

0 - 0

The teams returned unchanged following the interval and the Saddlers got the action back underway. Walsall began the half brightly, with Morgan Ferrier winning an early free-kick which came to nothing.

The hosts continued to press, and were rewarded in the fifty-fourth minute as a curling cross from George Dobson was met by the head of Ferrier, who got just enough on the ball to turn it home.

Walsall continued to look the more dangerous side, almost doubling their advantage in the fifty-sixth minute through Nicky Devlin, but Eastham was alert to the danger and cleared the ball off the line.

Five minutes later, the Saddlers again went close to doubling their lead, as Josh Gordon fired a low shot goal-wards, but Fleetwood ‘keeper, Alex Cairns got off his line quickly to deny the forward. The Saddlers maintained the pressure on their opponents, with Luke Leahy and Edwards combining well to set Gordon up again moments later, but the strikers powerful effort from just outside the box, sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

Walsall were rewarded again for their pressure in the sixty-eighth minute, as Scarr got on the end of a Leahy cross and fired through the legs of Cairns to put his side two goals to the good.

The Saddlers opted to make their first change moments after the second goal had gone in, with scorer of the first, Morgan Ferrier making way for Scott Laird.

The hosts almost put the game to bed in the seventy-first minute, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Leahy whipped towards the near post, but the man between the sticks was quick to get across his goalmouth to clear.

The Trawlermen opted to make a double substitution with seventy-two minutes played, introducing Ryan Rydel and Ashley Nadesan in place of Ross Wallace and Paddy Madden.

Rydel almost made an immediate impact, crossing the ball in for Evans, but pressure from Guthrie ensured the strikers effort sailed wide. Rydel then went close himself five minutes later, with an effort from outside the area, but his shot sailed well over Roberts crossbar.

Walsall opted to make their second change of the afternoon ten minutes from time, with Joe Edwards making way for Isaiah Osbourne.

The visitors followed suit, making a change, their third and final of the afternoon, just a minute later, as Ashley Hunter was asked to make way for Barry Baggley.

The final ten minutes were a fairly quiet affair, with just one chance of note, as an eighty-seventh minute free-kick saw Husband’s cross met by Eastham who sent a volley sailing over the crossbar from close range.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, with the Saddlers using them to make their third and final change. Cameron Norman taking the place of Luke Leahy for the run-in. That would be the last real action of note though, as Walsall comfortably saw out a two goal victory.

A good afternoon of football from the Saddlers, who held their nerve and defended well, whilst taking their chances when presented with them. The decent run of form continuing, seeing the side rise to the dizzying heights of sixteenth in the League One table.

2 - 0
Ferrier (54')
Scarr (67')

Attendance: 4,986 (99)
Referee: Eddie Ilderton
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