Match Report: Walsall 3 Peterborough United 0 Match Report: Walsall 3 Peterborough United 0
Match Report: Walsall 3 Peterborough United 0

Match Report: Walsall 3 Peterborough United 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between the Saddlers and Peterborough United.
The Saddlers arrived at this weekend's clash with a simple task, win. Anything less than a victory would see the Saddlers take an unwelcome detour through the fourth tier of English football following more than a decade in League One.

Peterborough United got the match underway and just four minutes in, almost took full advantage of the windy conditions at Fortress Bescot, with Marcus Maddison firing a thirty yard effort goal-wards, forcing Chris Dunn into an early save. The Walsall shot-stopper doing well to parry the driven effort.

The game settled, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball in and around the midfield area, before the Saddlers created their first scoring opportunity in the tenth minute; a twenty yard, low effort from Josh Gordon which Aaron Chapman made light work of saving.

The visitors were awarded a free-kick up at the other end moments later, which Rhys Bennett got on the end of, heading the ball goal-wards, but ultimately sending the ball sailing wide of the upright.

Walsall grew into the game as it continued, seeing more of the ball and asking questions of their oppositions defences. As we reached the quarter hour mark, a delightful ball forwards from Dan Scarr set Joe Edwards away, but the midfielder was unable to keep his twenty yard effort on target in the breezy conditions.

There was a brief pause in proceedings in the eighteenth minute whilst George Cooper received treatment for an injury picked up after a George Dobson tackle, but after a few minutes of attention, the midfielder was able to rejoin the action.

The Saddlers soon had the ball back up at the other end, with Dobson playing the ball out to Luke Leahy, who in turn fed Gordon, but the strikers eight yard effort sailed narrowly wide of the post, when he really should have opened the scoring.

Six minutes after initially going down injured, George Cooper admitted defeat, departing early as Ivan Toney took his place.

The visiting side began to enjoy a brighter spell again after the change had been made, with Maddison showing some skill in midfield before Jason Naismith fired a right-footed effort in on goal from outside the box, forcing Dunn to make a save.

Posh continued to press, winning a free-kick for their efforts in the twenty-ninth minute, which Maddison fired goal-wards, but the ball caught on the wind and sailed over the bar without troubling the man between the sticks.

The Saddlers broke in the thirty-seventh minute, with Andy Cook racing forwards before looking to play in Edwards at the far post, but the cross had a little too much on it and sailed harmlessly out of play before the midfielder could reach it.

Walsall won a corner in the dying embers of the half, which the Peterborough defences cleared as we entered three minutes of additional time.

As we entered the second of the minutes added, the Saddlers found the breakthrough, with Scott Laird playing the ball in towards the back post, where Cook was on hand to head home. A superb end to the first-half for the Saddlers, who marched back to their dressing room moments later with a spring in their step.

1 - 0

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. The Saddlers looked bright during the opening spell, but soon saw George Dobson pick up the first yellow card of the afternoon, his ninth of the season, for a foul on Siriki Dembele in the forty-eighth minute.

The hosts continued to enjoy a good start to the half, winning a free-kick in the fifty-first minute, which Peterborough were eventually able to clear.

With fifty-seven minutes on the clock, some nightmare defending from Posh, coupled with some superb play from Scarr and Gordon, culminated in Daniel Lafferty popping the ball over the line, conceding an own goal which saw the Saddlers advantage double.

The visitors responded to the goal by making a fifty-eighth minute substitution, their second of the afternoon. Siriki Dembele the man to make for Joe Ward.

In the sixty-first minute, Alex Woodyard became the second player to see his name entered into the referee’s notebook, picking up a yellow card for a poor challenge on Nicky Devlin.

Just a minute later, an injury picked up by Dan Scarr saw the defender forced to make an early departure from the game, with Jon Guthrie the man to take his place.

Walsall should have further extended their lead in the sixty-third minute, as Devlin raced into the box, beating Lafferty and Chapman as he did so, before seeing the wind take his effort over the crossbar, with Cook just waiting to tap home.

With sixty-five minutes played, the visitors opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon, with Danny Lafferty making way for Lee Tomlin.

Gordon drew a fine save from Chapman in the seventy-third minute, with a twelve yard header. Just a minute later, Gordon had more success in front of goal, prodding home a cross from Cook, who had put in some lovely work in the build-up.

The visitors looked to respond, winning a free-kick in a dangerous spot on the edge of the area in the seventy-seventh minute, which Toney curled round the wall and, unluckily for him, into the side netting.

In the eighty-first minute, the Saddlers opted to make their second change of the game, with Joe Edwards making way as Isaiah Osbourne entered the fray.

The final ten minutes of the match were a quiet affair, Posh enjoying spells of possession without creating anything and the Saddlers happy to allow that.

Three minutes were added to end the encounter, during which time the Saddlers made their third and final change; Andy Cook the man to miss the last few seconds as Aramide Oteh took his place.

That would be the last meaningful action of the afternoon, the referee calling time with the Saddlers three-goals-to-nil lead intact. A superb performance from Walsall, who did exactly what they have needed to do all season, taking their chances and defending stoically when called upon to do so. The side putting themselves in the best position possible heading into the final week of the season...

3 - 0
Cook (45+2')
Lafferty OG (57')
Gordon (74')

Attendance: 5,400 (1,585)
Referee: Martin Coy
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