Match Report: Oldham Athletic 2 Walsall 0 Match Report: Oldham Athletic 2 Walsall 0
Match Report: Oldham Athletic 2 Walsall 0

Match Report: Oldham Athletic 2 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League Two clash between Oldham Athletic and Walsall.
The Saddlers arrived at the match on the back of three consecutive defeats and in need of both an improved performance and positive result as the games continue to arrive at some pace.

Oldham Athletic got the match underway, and they began brightly with Filipe Morais crossing into the box inside the opening minute, but none of his teammates were able to reach the ball to turn it home.

The game then settled as both teams grew into it. Though Christopher Missilou did fire a third minute, left-footed effort in from outside the box, but it sailed high and wide of the target, without troubling on-loan Southampton stopper Jack Rose in the Walsall goal.

Five minutes in, Oldham won the first corner of the game as Mat Sadler was forced to turn the ball behind, but it came to nothing.

In the ninth minute, the Saddlers were finally able to work the ball up to the other end, but Elijah Adebayo's cross from the left sailed harmlessly out of play, before the hosts won another corner kick back at the other end moments later. The flag-kick was played into the box but the visitors cleared the danger.

Fourteen minutes in, Walsall finally created their first real chance of the game, as Josh Gordon and on-loan Salford City striker Rory Gaffney combined to set up Alfie Bates, whose effort from the edge of the box sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

With seventeen minutes played, the hosts won their third, and then fourth corners of the match, but the Saddlers defences stood firm on both occasions and eventually came away with the ball.

Some felt the Saddlers should have been awarded a second penalty in as many games in the twenty-second minute, as a ball over the top from Stuart Sinclair saw Adebayo through on goal, but the referee was unmoved as the striker was grounded before getting a shot away, and waved play on.

Walsall continued to improve as the minutes ticked by, and looked likely to open the scoring in the twenty-eighth minute as some good work from Holden almost played Gaffney in, but the eventual cross was just too far ahead of him and the chance went begging.

As we reached the half hour mark, the Saddlers again had the ball in shooting range, as some good work from Adebayo saw the ball played across the box to Gaffney, who was unable to get enough power behind his shot to turn it home, allowing Oldham 'keeper, Zeus De La Paz an easy save.

After a good spell of Walsall pressure, the hosts were eventually able to work the ball back to the other end, where Scott Wilson played a cross onto the head of club captain, David Wheater, whose headed effort sailed straight into the waiting arms of Saddlers shot-stopper, Rose.

Three minutes later, the Saddlers won a corner. Rory Holden curled the ball into the box, where it was met by the head of Dan Scarr, but the defender was unable to direct his effort on target and the ball sailed inches wide of the upright.

Walsall continued to press, with Gordon doing well to work himself into shooting range, five minutes from time, but the former Leicester City man saw his effort sail high over the crossbar without troubling De La Paz.

With two minutes of the opening forty-five remaining, Chris McCann attempted to open the scoring with a long range effort, but Rose remained alert in the Walsall goal and pulled off a great save to deny him.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, but neither side were able to make use of it, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

0 - 0

Walsall made their first change of the evening as the teams returned, with Cameron Pring, who appeared to have taken a knock late in the first-half, was replaced by Zak Jules as the side got the action back underway. The Saddlers started the half on the front foot, with Holden curling an early shot in from the edge of the box, forcing a fine save from the Latics shot-stopper.

With fifty-two minutes on the clock, Mat Sadler was given his marching orders after he deliberately handled the ball in a last-gasp bid to prevent a goal. The resulting free-kick, saw Morais fire wide.

Just three minutes after the Saddlers were reduced to ten men, they also fell a goal behind, as Wilson picked up the ball inside the box and smashed it into the top corner.

Walsall then opted to make a second change to their line-up as they looked to restructure following Sadler's dismissal. Rory Gaffney the man to make way as Cameron Norman was brought into the fray.

In the sixty-first minute, the Saddlers went close to levelling the scores as Gordon and Holden linked up, but the latter's shot from the edge of the area sailed narrowly wide of the far post.

The Latics soon had the ball back up at the other end, where McCann fired an effort high over the bar from some distance.

It wasn't long before the Saddlers again found themselves in shooting distance though, and Gordon did well to create space for himself on the edge of the area before seeing a deflected effort saved by De La Paz.

With sixty-nine minutes on the clock, Desire Segbe Azankpo made the Saddlers job that much harder, as he doubled Oldham's advantage as he slotted the ball into the bottom corner from close range.

The visitors set about looking for a route back into the game, with Bates playing a delightful ball over the top for Gordon in the seventy-first minute, but the low shot from Josh was saved by the Latics 'keeper.

With seventy-four minutes on the clock, the Saddlers were forced to make their third and final change of the evening, as half-time substitute, Zak Jules was forced to depart through injury. Shay Facey the man to take his place.

The home side were soon on the prowl again, with Missilou crossing a tantalising ball into the box in the seventy-seventh minute. Rose was alert to the danger and managed to palm clear, and thankfully none of the Latics players was able to get to the ball to turn it back in.

Ten minutes from time, Alex Lacovitti became the first player to see yellow.

Moments later, the Saddlers almost pulled a goal back, as Norman saw his effort from the set-piece turned into the path of Scarr, whose shot was turned behind for a corner. The flag-kick coming to nothing.

With eighty-five minutes on the clock, Oldham opted to make a double change, with both Filipe Morais and Desire Segbe Azankpo departing as Chris Eagles and fifteen year old, Zac Emmerson joined the action.

Four minutes later, the hosts made their third and final change of the evening, as Scott Wilson made way for debutante Reece Gaskell.

Five minutes were added to end the match, but neither side was able to make use of them and the referee called a halt to the contest with Oldham's two goals enough to take all three points.

Another disappointing evening for the Saddlers, who had looked the more likely to score for much of the game, until Sadler saw red.

2 - 0
Wilson (55')
Segbe Azankpo (69')

Attendance: 2,438 (199)
Referee: Ollie Yates
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