Match Report: Swindon Town 2 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League Two clash between Swindon Town and Walsall.
The Saddlers endured a dismal October - suffering five consecutive defeats in League Two - and were keen to return to form as they opened their account for November at the County Ground.

After a well observed two minute silence, Swindon Town got the match underway. The Saddlers started brightly, winning a corner just four minutes in, but an unmarked Dan Scarr was unable to keep his effort on target from the flag-kick, firing well over the bar.

Just a minute later, Eoin Doyle had more luck up at the other end, as a cross into the box from Keshi Anderson, presented Swindon's top scorer with an easy tap in at the back post, which he duly converted.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly, but an eighth minute through ball from Scarr found Rory Gaffney in an offside position, bringing a promising move to a premature end.

Swindon soon had the ball back in the Walsall area, winning a corner as a low cross from Anderson was cut out by Mat Sadler. The Saddlers defences stood firm as the set-piece was swung in, and cleared the danger.

The end-to-end action continued, with the Saddlers going close fifteen minutes in, as Shay Facey launched a delightful run down the right, before crossing the ball in for Elijah Adebayo who saw a low effort from the edge of the area kept out by the fingertips of Swindon shot-stopper, Steven-Andreas Benda.

Seventeen minutes in, there was a pause in proceedings whilst Keshi Anderson received treatment after stretching for a high ball. The game eventually continued, and it soon became apparent that the Swindon man would not be returning, so Jordan Lyden was sent on in his place in the twenty-first minute.

Just three minutes after the Swindon change, Walsall were forced to make a substitution of their own as Danny Guthrie picked up an injury which forced his early retirement from the game. Alfie Bates sent on to take his place.

Shortly after the change was completed, Jerry Yates looked to double his sides advantage, with a left-footed effort from range, but Jack Rose was alert to the danger and got down well to save.

Town continued to press, and as we reached the half hour mark, won a corner as Sadler was forced to turn the ball out of play. The visiting defences stood firm though and ensured nothing would come of the set-piece.

Walsall were a little unfortunate not to equalise in the thirty-fourth minute, as a lovely cross from Cameron Pring played an unmarked Gaffney in, but the latter scuffed his shot, letting Swindon off the hook.

Town saw a lot of the ball as the match continued, though they were unable to launch a serious challenge on the Walsall goal, though Doyle was just shy of meeting a headed cross at the back-post in the forty-fourth minute, that would have been an almost certain goal had he gotten to it. As it was though, the ball sailed out for a goal-kick.

Three minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to make use of them, and the sides trudged off for their half-time refreshments with Swindon leaded by one-goal-to-nil.

1 - 0

The sides returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the match back underway. Just two minutes after the re-start, a shot from Diallang Jaiyesimi took a rather unfortunate, from a Saddlers perspective, deflection off Scarr, and headed into the bottom right corner, doubling Swindon's advantage.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, the Saddlers won a free-kick in a dangerous position. Rory Holden swung the ball into the box, bringing Benda out to meet it, but the goalkeeper missed, allowing Gaffney a free header home, to bring his side back to within one goal of their opponents.

Walsall almost levelled the scores just two minutes later, winning another free-kick which was played into the box, where both Scarr and Zak Jules were on hand to meet it at the back post, but a handball from the former ensured the hosts would come away with the ball.

Fifty-nine minutes in, Swindon opted to make their second change of the afternoon, as scorer of their second goal, Diallang Jaiyesimi was replaced by Kaiyne Woolery.

The Saddlers saw much of the ball as they continued to seek a route back into the game, though they were unable to find a breakthrough, so, with seventy-two minutes on the clock, Darrell Clarke opted to roll the dice, making his two available substitutions. Zak Jules and Elijah Adebayo the men to make way as Caolan Lavery and James Hardy entered the fray.

The sides continued to struggle to break each other down, though fifteen minutes from time, Town did win a free-kick in a dangerous position. Michael Doughty fired the effort in on goal, with far too much on it and the scores remained the same.

Swindon continued to see more of the ball, with Doyle setting up Jordan Lyden in the seventy-ninth minute, but with heavy rain continuing to fall, the midfielder volleyed over from close range.

The match continued with the sides cancelling each other out, though the hosts did win a corner in the eighty-eighth minute as Hardy put the ball behind, but the Saddlers defences continued to defend stoically and the flag-kick came to nothing.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time, Gaffney saw a right-footed shot from distance, sail narrowly wide of the upright, before Holden fired an effort goal-wards with Benda grounded, but the Swindon 'keeper was able to scramble to his feet and tip the ball over the bar to deny him a last gasp equaliser.

That would be the last action of the game; the referee blowing the full-time whistle with Swindon's two-goals-to-one lead intact.

Another disappointing afternoon for the Saddlers, who did look brighter at times during the game, though they were again unable to make the most of the chances that presented themselves.

2 - 1
Doyle (5')
Jaiyesimi (47')
Gaffney (54')

Attendance: 7,014 (361)
Referee: Josh Smith
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