Match Report: Walsall 2 Portsmouth 3 Match Report: Walsall 2 Portsmouth 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 2 Portsmouth 3

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League One clash between Walsall and visitors, Portsmouth.
The Saddlers arrived at this evening's match on the back of an encouraging victory over Fleetwood Town, and were looking to further extend their advantage over the sides currently sitting in and above the relegation zone.

Walsall got the match underway and began well, winning a corner in the fourth minute as Lee Brown was forced to clear the ball behind, though the flag-kick came to nothing. Portsmouth then created the first real chance of the evening just three minutes later, with a left-footed Omar Bogle effort being saved by an alert Liam Roberts.

Portsmouth were temporarily reduced to ten men in the tenth minute, whilst Matthew Clarke received treatment for a cut, though he was, after some time, able to continue, sporting a bandaged head and shirt without number.

Just thirteen minutes into the game, Portsmouth took an early lead thanks to a rather unnecessary shove inside the box from Morgan Ferrier, which saw the visiting side awarded a penalty, which Brett Pitman duly dispatched, sending Roberts the wrong way.

Two minutes after his return to action, in the seventeenth minute, Clarke became the first player to enter the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Liam Kinsella.

Portsmouth continued to enjoy a good spell following their goal, with Bogle seeing a left-footed effort blocked from range in the eighteenth minute, before Jamal Lowe got on the end of a Nathan Thompson cross moments later. The latter coming to nothing as the connection on the ball was weak.

The Saddlers began to enjoy a brighter spell after the Lowe effort, working the ball up to the other end, where Ferrier broke through the Pompey defences before firing goal-wards, but former Saddler, Craig MacGillivray was alert to the danger and saved.

With twenty-five minutes on the clock, Portsmouth doubled their advantage, with Bogle connecting with a long ball over the top and firing an effort onto the woodwork and over the line.

The visiting side thought they had secured a third goal as we reached the half hour mark, as a free-kick from Pitman was turned home by Lowe, but referee Trevor Kettle pulled play back as the set-piece had been taken before he had given the signal.

Pompey continued to apply pressure to the Walsall defences, with both Bogle and Tom Naylor seeing long-range efforts blocked in the thirty-first minute, before the Saddlers cleared the danger and worked the ball back up to the other end, where Christian Burgess was on hand for the visitors to clear a dangerous ball in.

In the thirty-seventh minute, Liam Kinsella became the second player to enter the referee’s notebook, seeing yellow for a late challenge on Naylor.

After a quieter spell, two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time the Saddlers saw a corner taken by Luke Leahy held by MacGillivray. That would be the last action of the half though, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with Portsmouth enjoying a two-goal advantage.

0 - 2

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Portsmouth got the second-half underway. The Saddlers began the half brightly, with Dan Scarr seeking to play Josh Gordon in just moments after kick-off, but MacGillivray was on hand to spare the visitors blushes.

Unperturbed, the hosts continued to press, with Joe Edwards calling MacGillivray into action again in the forty-ninth minute, with a dangerous cross in which the ‘keeper was able to gather at his near post.

Two minutes later, the Saddlers again broke forward, winning a corner as a Gordon cross was turned behind by Brown, but unfortunately, the flag-kick came to nothing. Walsall continued to pepper the Portsmouth box with crosses, but some defending, particularly from Clarke ensured his side maintained their two goal advantage.

There a brief pause in proceedings in the fifty-seventh minute, allowing Thompson to receive treatment for an injury, but the defender was soon able to continue.

With sixty-four minutes on the clock, the visiting side created their first chance of the half, winning a corner which Brown whipped into the box, only for Bogle to nod the ball wide of Roberts upright.

The visiting side continued to enjoy a brighter spell, and put the game to bed with sixty-eight minutes played. Pitman and Lowe combining to set up Viv Solomon-Otabor who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.

With seventy minutes played, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the evening, introducing Corey Blackett-Taylor in place of Joe Edwards.

With seventy-two minutes on the clock, Josh Gordon talked his way into the referee’s notebook.

Portsmouth then opted to make their first change of the game, with Omar Bogle making way for James Vaughan.

The Saddlers won a corner in the seventy-fifth minute as Thompson was forced to put the ball out of play. George Dobson swung the flag-kick in and Jon Guthrie rose well to head home his first goal of the campaign to put his side back in with an outside chance of taking a point from the fixture.

Moments after the goal was scored, Morgan Ferrier joined the ranks in the referee’s notebook.

The Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the seventy-eighth minute, as an effort from Ferrier hit the hand of Thompson inside the box, but the referee was unmoved by their protests and waved play on.

Walsall continued to press, winning a corner in the eighty-third minute, which caused the visiting defences problems, but MacGillivray was eventually able to get to the ball and palm it clear.

Four minutes from time, Portsmouth opted to make their second change of the evening, replacing Brett Pitman with Anton Walkes. With the Saddlers following suit moments later, as Zeli Ismail made way for Aramide Oteh.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time there was another pause in proceedings whilst Vaughan received treatment for a knock. The Saddlers then went on to score their second goal of the evening, as Guthrie fired home again following a corner. That would be the last action of the evening though, as time was called with Portsmouth running out winners by three-goals-to-two.

A disappointing evening for the Saddlers, who struggled during the first-half, before showing great improvement in the second. A not altogether unexpected result in the end, coming up against promotion chasing opposition, but with just one goal in it, a shame not to have made more of the chances created.

2 - 3
Guthrie (75')
Guthrie (90+4')

Pitman [P] (13')
Bogle (25')
Solomon-Otabor (68')
Attendance: 4,097 (598)
Referee: Trevor Kettle
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