EFL Trophy: Walsall 3 Chelsea U21s 2 EFL Trophy: Walsall 3 Chelsea U21s 2
EFL Trophy: Walsall 3 Chelsea U21s 2

EFL Trophy: Walsall 3 Chelsea U21s 2

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's EFL Trophy - Round Two clash between Walsall and Chelsea Under-21s.
The Saddlers arrived at their latest cup outing on the back of Saturday's narrow Emirates FA Cup - Second Round defeat to Oxford United and in search of a more positive result this time around.

Darrell Clarke's side had enjoyed a successful group stage and hoped they could make it safely through to Round Three as they welcomed Chelsea Under-21s to a chilly Banks's Stadium.

Walsall Line-Up
L.Roberts; Facey, Clarke, Scarr, Cockerill-Mollett; Holden, Guthrie, Kinsella, McDonald; Lavery, Gaffney

Substitutes: Rose; K.Roberts, Liddle; Hardy, Bates; Adebayo, Pearce

Chelsea U21s Line-Up
Cumming; Lamptey, Guehi, Mola, Maatsen, Gilmour, Ballo, McEachran, Brown, Anjorin, Lawrence

Substitutes: Tie, Lavinier, Wakely, Russell, Broja, Nunn

The Saddlers named fifteen-year-old striker Luke Pearce on the bench for their clash with the Blues, with the prospect being rewarded for his solid displays in Miguel Llera's Under-18s.

It was Chelsea who got the game underway and the visitors wasted no time in opening the scoring as Tariq Lamptey was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net after goalkeeper Liam Roberts had failed to take control of Marc Guehi's long ball over the top. Not the greatest start for the Saddlers.

Chelsea, buoyed by their early goal, went close to making it two just a couple of minutes later as Thierno Ballo found space in the box. Thankfully, for the Saddlers, young left-back Callum Cockerill-Moollett was alert to the danger and was able to block the shot.

Sadly the block would come at a cost for Callum as he initially left the pitch for a spell of treatment with Head of Medical Marc Czuczman called into action for the first time in the evening.

Walsall's woes were far from over as the visiting side made their man advantage pay as, following some neat wing-play, Faustino Anjorin found an advanced Lamptey in far too much space, the 19-year-old slotting home from close range.

With his side two-nil down inside the opening ten minutes, Saddlers manager Darrell Clarke would go on to make his first change of the evening as Kory Roberts was called into action with the unfortunate Cockerill-Mollett unable to continue.

The Saddlers were unable to find their feet shortly after the change and saw an effort go just over the bar as Wes McDonald broke down the wing and sent a cross into the box. On-loan Salford City striker Rory Gaffney was the man to attack the ball and went close as his effort went over.

The visitors' next opening came via a Walsall mistake as Danny Guthrie lost possession in midfield before the ball arrived at the feet of Izzy Brown, his effort going just wide of Roberts' right-hand post.

Brown was soon back on the hunt for his first goal of the game and, following a well presented Anjorin pass, found himself in space inside the Walsall area. Once again the Saddlers were ultimately able to prevent another goal as Liam Kinsella was on hand to block.

The Saddlers' next effort on goal came after some neat Rory Holden footwork, his pass found Caolan Lavery in space but the former Sheffield United striker wasn't able to halve the deficit as his shot was straight at Chelsea stopper Jamie Cumming, who easily gathered.

Walsall continued their search for a goal and saw another effort creep past the post with just over ten minutes of the half remaining as a Guthrie free-kick was cleared only as far as Shay Facey, the former Manchester City prospect sending a volley wide as 'keeper Cumming watched on.

Chelsea seemed happy to sit back as the match headed towards the break, but that could have been a dangerous decision as the Saddlers pushed for their first goal of the game. The home side's next shot was another Facey effort, the winger found in space by Lavery, but Shay was unable to capitalise as he slipped before sending an effort straight at the 'keeper.

The Saddlers grew into the game and created some promising opportunities as the half went on. However they were unable to get among the goals as they reached the break with a two-nil deficit.

0 - 2

Despite his side having a two-goal lead at the break Chelsea U21s boss Andy Myers opted to make a change to his line-up with George McEachran being replaced by Jack Wakely.

Following on from their ever-improving first-half it was the Saddlers who created the first opening of the second as winger Wes McDonald cut inside before unleashing a swerving effort towards goal. Blues stopper Cumming wasn't beaten however, as he made the save.

Shortly after McDonald's shot the Saddlers made their second change as Rory Holden made way for James Hardy as manager Darrell Clarke appeared to be somewhat frustrated with on-loan Bristol City man Holden following a misplaced pass.

Walsall were soon rewarded for their attacking endeavour as a Gaffney cross into the area appeared to strike the arm of a Chelsea defender giving Devon-based referee Brett Hiuxtable little choice in pointing to the spot.

Caolan Lavery was the man to take the spot kick and, after a stuttering run up, was able to slot past the 'keeper to put the Saddlers within a goal of their visitors with plenty of the game still to play.

Darrell Clarke didn't let the goal change his plans and soon made his third and final change with Alfie Bates replacing Danny Guthrie in midfield. A positive change as Guthrie continues to work on improving his fitness.

Goal-scoring opportunities become something of a premium as the half went on with much of the action taking place in the middle of the park with the teams cancelling each-other out.

Saddlers sub Alfie Bates almost grabbed himself an assist as he won the ball high up the pitch before feeding a pass to Lavery on the edge of the area. Sadly that's where things fell apart as Lavery turned and lifted an effort high and wide with Cumming not called into action.

Walsall thought they had managed to grab an equaliser a few minutes after Lavery's wayward effort as Gaffney had found the back of the net with a header following Hardy's cross, but the referee surprisingly called play back for an apparent foul on a defender.

Walsall's 'almost goal' prompted Chelsea into a change as Double goal-scorer Tariq Lamptey made way for Jonathan Russell, the visitors opting to add fresh legs in midfield as Walsall pushed for an equaliser.

Chelsea's change didn't have the desired effect as the Saddlers were able to complete their comeback as they put the game back on level terms with the ever-dangerous Wes McDonald firing home off the post. The winger doing well to cut inside, beating his man, before crashing the ball home.

Walsall's second goal saw the visitors make their third and final change as Faustino Anjorin was replaced by Armando Broja in attack.

The Saddlers went close to grabbing a winner with just a minute of normal time remaining as second-half substitute Alfie Bates sliced an effort wide of goal after being set up on the edge of the area. Close, but not close enough.

With the prospect of penalties to come after the seven-minutes of added-on time to come, Walsall opted to end the game then and there as defender Dan Scarr smashed the ball into the back of the net following Gaffney's cross. A superb half-volley to complete the comeback and secure a spot in Round Three.

3 - 2
Lavery [P] (52')
McDonald (79')
Scarr (90+4')
Lamptey (3')
Lamptey (10')

Attendance: 941 (52)
Referee: Brett Huxtable
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