Match Report: Morecambe 0 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League Two clash between Morecambe and Walsall.
Darrell Clarke's Saddlers arrived at this evening's match on the back of a disappointing defeat to Bradford City and in search of just their second win of the season.

The Reds have endured a dismal start to the season and were in desperate need of both a positive result and improved performance following a string of poor displays.

Walsall got the match underway, and almost opened the scoring within the first thirty seconds as Rory Gaffney crossed the ball in for Caolan Lavery who was unfortunate to see his close range effort sail narrowly wide of the upright.

There was then a pause in proceedings, preventing the Saddlers continuing to build on their early momentum allowing treatment for an injury to Morecambe defender Steven Old who had collided with the post in an effort to prevent an opening goal.

The action was eventually resumed, and with just four minutes on the clock, the Saddlers ended their goal drought, as Gaffney fired an effort in, which Morecambe shot-stopper, Barry Roche was able to clear, but Stuart Sinclair was on hand to turn the rebounded effort home.

The home side soon had the ball up at the other end as they looked to respond to falling a goal behind, but Adam Buxton's effort from distance sailed over the Walsall goal without troubling the man between the sticks.

The frenetic pace slowed a little as both sides settled into the game. Both teams enjoying spells on the ball, without creating too much going forwards, until Rory Holden found himself in shooting range in the eleventh minute, but his left-footed effort sailed wide.

Walsall continued to press, winning two corners in close succession in the eleventh and twelfth minutes, but the visiting side were unable to make anything of them.

Morecambe began to get more into the game as we headed through the quarter hour mark, with Shaun Miller going close with a right-footed effort from a tight angle, which he was, fortunately, unable to direct between the posts.

With nineteen minutes played, the Saddlers launched a counter attack, which many felt should have culminated in a penalty being awarded as Gary Liddle was felled inside the box, but the referee was unmoved by the appeals, instead awarding a free-kick to the hosts.

Walsall continued to press, going close again in the twenty-second minute, as a Gaffney cross was cleared only as far as Liam Kinsella who saw his right-footed effort on goal sail inches wide of the upright.

Kinsella went close again six minutes later, winning a corner for his side as George Tanner was forced to turn his shot on goal behind following lovely cross in from Gaffney who continued to cause the hosts problems.

The ball in from Danny Guthrie found the head of Lavery, but the strikers header from an acute angle sailed narrowly over the crossbar.

Tanner was then able to create a chance at the other end five minutes later, but the defenders right-footed shot from range sailed wide of the mark without troubling Roberts in the Walsall goal.

Both sides enjoyed plenty of the ball as time ebbed away, without creating too much. Moments before the board was raised indicating two minutes of added time would be played, the Saddlers won a corner as Buxton was forced to put the ball out of play. The ball in from the flag-kick was good, picking out Gaffney who did well to get the ball down and beat his man before seeing his effort from a tight angle saved.

Walsall continued to look the more likely to score as the two additional minutes were played, but they were unable to add to their tally before the referee brought the first-half to a close.

0 - 1

The sides returned unchanged following the break, and Morecambe got the match back underway. The hosts began the half brightly, though they were unable to really test the Saddlers defences.

Six minutes into the half, the Saddlers should have doubled their advantage as Gaffney set Lavery away down the left, before Lavery played in Holden, whose effort on goal sailed over the bar, when he really should have scored.

Walsall continued to press, with Gaffney again crossing to Lavery moments later. This time Lavery opted to shoot himself, but Roche was well placed and the low effort was saved by the 'keepers feet.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, Gary Liddle became the first player to see his name added to the referee's notebook for a foul.

Morecambe then won a corner, from which Miller was able to turn the ball home, but the striker was offside as he shot goal-wards and the goal was duly ruled out.

The home side continued to press, winning another corner in the fifty-seventh minute. The ball in from the flag-kick was good and tested the Saddlers defences, but after a scramble in the box, Roberts eventually came away with the ball.

The pressure continued, with Morecambe winning yet another corner moments later, but the Saddlers defences again stood firm and dealt with the danger.

The pace slowed a little as the Saddlers were able to keep the ball for longer spells as the game continued, quelling much of the Morecambe attack. Walsall then won a corner, which the hosts defended well, launching a counter-attack which the visitors were able to eventually halt.

The visiting side won a further corner in the seventy-second minute as Sam Lavelle put the ball out of play. The ball in was headed clear but swiftly played back in for Saddlers captain, James Clarke but the ball was eventually put out of play for a throw-in.

With seventy-three minutes on the clock, the hosts opted to make a double substitution, with Kevin Ellison and Shaun Miller making way as Ajay Leitch-Smith and Cole Stockton entered the fray.

Two minutes later, the Saddlers bench also chose to make a change to their line-up, with Caolan Lavery departing as Josh Gordon took his place.

In the seventy-seventh minute, Stephen Old joined Liddle in the referee's notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on the recently introduced Gordon.

With eighty-third minutes on the clock, after a quieter spell, the hosts opted to make their third and final change of the evening as they continued to look for a late equaliser. Aaron Wildig making way for Rhys Oates.

Darrell Clarke responded to the change by making a second change of his own, with Rory Holden being replaced by Mat Sadler for the final few minutes as the visitors set about holding onto their slender lead.

The hosts won a corner in the eighty-sixth minute, as they continued to push for a late equaliser, but the Saddlers defended stoically.

Walsall soon had the ball back up at the other end, relieving some of the pressure on their defences, but Zak Jules' through ball for Gordon caught the latter offside.

Three additional minutes were added to end the evenings entertainment, but neither side was able to make use of them. Sinclair's fourth minute goal eventually proving enough for the Saddlers to take all three points back to the Midlands with them.

0 - 1

Sinclair (4')
Attendance: 1,616 (232)
Referee: James Oldham
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