Match Report: Walsall 1 Grimsby Town 3 Match Report: Walsall 1 Grimsby Town 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 1 Grimsby Town 3

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League Two clash between Walsall and Grimsby Town.
The Saddlers arrived at this weekend's match on the back of a string of disappointing results including last Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle, and manager Darrell Clarke was keen for his side to show improvement across all positions.

Grimsby started the match brightly, winning a free-kick moments after kick-off, which was played in towards the back post, where the ball was met by Ludvig Ohman who headed the ball on for Moses Ogbu, who in turn fired goal-wards forcing a save from Saddlers shot-stopper, Liam Roberts.

Walsall were quick to work the ball up to the other end though, and with just five minutes on the clock found themselves ahead, thanks to some good work from Rory Holden, who pulled the ball back for Elijah Adebayo whose initial shot was blocked, before Caolan Lavery tapped home from close range.

Roberts was again called into action by the visitors in the twelfth minute, as Matt Green latched onto a cross from Luke Hendrie and powered a header towards the top corner, but the Walsall 'keeper got enough on it, at full stretch, to push the ball over the bar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Grimsby continued to search for an equaliser, with Elliott Hewitt sending a cross in from the right in the seventeenth minute, which was met by the head of James Hanson, but the strikers effort sailed narrowly wide of the upright, without causing Roberts any concern.

With twenty minutes on the clock, Ludvig Ohman became the first player to see yellow as the defender was cautioned following a foul on Lavery.

Moments later, the Saddlers almost went two goals to the good as Holden beat his man as he entered the box, before seeing his effort on goal sail inches over the crossbar.

Both enjoyed spells of possession as the match continued, but neither was able to create much with it, as the sides cancelled each other out, though twenty-six minutes in, goalscorer, Lavery was a little unfortunate to see a right-footed close range effort blocked inside the box.

The visitors continued to see plenty of the ball as the game continued, but the Saddlers defences stood strong, ensuring Roberts goal was not really threatened, until a thirty-second minute effort was fired goal-wards by Hanson, but the Saddlers shot-stopper was well placed to save.

Town continued to dominate possession, though the Saddlers did a good job of limiting their chances. Though a thirty-seventh minute free-kick, did see Elliott Whitehouse send a headed effort looping inches over Roberts crossbar.

Moments later, back at the other end, Walsall won a corner as Hewitt was forced to put the ball out of play, but the home side were unable to make use of it and Grimsby came away with the ball, winning a corner of their own moments later, which Whitehouse headed home from close range to level the scores four minutes before the scheduled break.

The Saddlers almost reinstated their earlier lead in the forty-fourth minute, as Holden played in Adebayo who scuffed his shot allowing Town 'keeper, James McKeown to make a comfortable save.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to make them count, and they headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores tied at one-apiece.

1 - 1

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the action got back underway.  It took a while for the sides to settle back into the game, with Walsall seeing plenty of the ball in the early goings, without creating much going forwards. Though seven minutes into the half, Holden went close with a left footed effort from outside the box, but McKeown was able to save.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy plenty of the ball as the match continued, though they were unable to create anything more before Darrell Clarke opted to make his first change of the afternoon, as goalscorer, Caolan Lavery made way for Josh Gordon.

Walsall continued to look the brighter of the two sides, winning a corner in the sixty-third minute as Grimsby's defences were tested by Adebayo. The flag-kick was played in by Hardy and was met by the head of Dan Scarr in the centre of the box, but his headed effort sailed high over the crossbar without troubling the man between the sticks.

Somewhat against the run of play, with sixty-eight minutes on the clock, an inch perfect cross from Green found Hanson, who headed home to put Grimsby ahead for the first time in the game.

Moments after the goal was scored, the visiting side opted to make their first substitution of the afternoon, with former Saddler, Jordan Cook making way for Max Wright for the final twenty minutes.

With seventy-four minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to roll the dice and make their second and third changes of the afternoon. James Hardy and Mat Sadler making way for Danny Guthrie and Wesley McDonald.

Guthrie almost made an immediate impact, whipping the ball into the box from a flag-kick for Gordon, who saw his effort beaten clear.

Twelve minutes from time, Grimsby opted to make their second change of the afternoon, as Moses Ogbu was replaced by Liam Gibson for the run-in.

Shortly after that change was completed, a coming together inside the penalty area saw Cameron Pring become the second player to see yellow, whilst Hanson was rewarded with a penalty kick, which he duly stepped up and converted to put the game to bed, his side now leading by three-goals-to-one with just nine minutes remaining.

Two minutes after adding to their tally, Town opted to make their third and final change of the day, with Matt Green being replaced by Matthew Pollock for the final few minutes.

The Saddlers were presented with a chance to pull a goal back in the eighty-seventh minute, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position, Adebayo was unable to beat McKeown with his effort on goal.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, but neither side was able to produce a moment of magic, or interest, and the referee eventually sounded the full-time whistle with Grimsby's two goal cushion still intact.

Another disappointing afternoon from the Saddlers who let a lead slip and failed to mount a serious challenge to get it back.

1 - 3
Lavery (5')

Whitehouse (41')
Hanson (68')
Hanson [P] (81')
Attendance: 4,812 (772)
Referee: David Rock
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