Match Report: Cheltenham Town 3 Walsall 1 Match Report: Cheltenham Town 3 Walsall 1
Match Report: Cheltenham Town 3 Walsall 1

Match Report: Cheltenham Town 3 Walsall 1

Here is out Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League Two clash between Cheltenham Town and Walsall.
The Saddlers arrived at this weekend's clash with Cheltenham on the back of a midweek EFL Trophy defeat to Portsmouth, and after securing a duo of league wins since we reached 2020 Walsall were looking to return to winning ways.

Rory Holden got the match underway, but it was Cheltenham Town who enjoyed the brighter start, with Tahvon Campbell seeing a close range effort blocked in just the third minute, before a Chris Hussey shot from outside the box was also blocked.

Cheltenham continued to pepper the Walsall goal with shots as the match continued, with the best of the early chances, a seventh minute, right-footed effort from Chris Clements which, as with their previous efforts,  was blocked.

With thirteen minutes on the clock, Cheltenham felt they should have been awarded a penalty, as Alfie May went down in the box, under pressure from Mat Sadler, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and play continued.

In just the fifteenth minute, Cheltenham were forced to make the first change of the afternoon, as Ryan Broom picked up a knock which forced his early retirement from the encounter. Sean Long the man to replace him.

Eighteen minutes in, the Robins took the lead, it had been coming. Max Sheaf given far too much space by the Walsall defences to convert a Hussey cross.

Town continued to see much of the ball following the goal, with the Saddlers really struggling to get into the game.

The home side continued to look the more likely to score as the match continued, with Campbell unable to keep a header from the centre of the box on target in the twenty-seventh minute, before Sheaf fired over from distance, three minutes later.

The Saddlers defended well, to limit the home sides efforts on goal, and thirty-eight minutes in they were finally able to break forwards, with Caolan Lavery doing well to get the ball to Wesley McDonald, who in turn found Josh Gordon, but the strikers eventual effort on goal was easily saved by Cheltenham 'keeper, Owen Evans.

Three minutes later, the Saddlers created a second chance, with McDonald firing a twenty yard effort goal-wards, but the shot deflected onto Evans upright and the hosts were able to clear.

One minute was added to end a rather dismal first-half, but there was no further action of note, and the sides trudged off with Cheltenham leading by one-goal-to-nil at the break. Darrell Clarke with plenty of work to do during the interval.

1 - 0

Walsall made a change as the sides returned for the second-half, with Zak Jules missing out, in favour of Elijah Adebayo, as Cheltenham got the match back underway. It took just seconds for the hosts to force Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts into action, with the 'keeper doing well to deny May.

In just the third minute of the second-half, Conor Thomas doubled the hosts advantage after some good build-up play from May and Long set the midfielder up inside the box.

With just fifty-one minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Alfie Bates making way for Cameron Norman as Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke looked to sure-up his defences.

The first yellow card of the afternoon was shown to Sheaf in the fifty-second minute, moments before the Saddlers went close to pulling a goal back in the fifty-third minute, as the two substitutes looked to make an impact. Norman crossing the ball in for Adebayo, who was a little unlucky to see his headed effort sail wide of the post.

The hosts soon had the ball back at the other end, where a right-footed effort from Campbell sailed wide of Roberts upright.

With fifty-seven minutes on the clock, Walsall captain, James Clarke became the second player to see his name entered into the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on May.

Sixty-four minutes in, the Robins opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Tahvon Campbell making way for George Lloyd.

Moments after the change, the recently introduced, Lloyd set up May to draw a fine save from Roberts to prevent a third goal for the hosts. The Saddlers were quick to respond, working the ball up to the other end, where Gordon was unable to keep his effort down.

Walsall continued to enjoy a brighter spell, winning a corner in the sixty-eighth minute, which was played into the box by Holden, for Lavery, whose headed effort sailed behind, without troubling Evans in the Robins goal.

Seventy-two minutes in, the home side effectively put the game to bed, with Lloyd playing a through ball for May who fired home. The goal-scorer would then see his name added to the referee's notebook for over-celebrating the goal.

The hosts then chose to make their third and final change of the afternoon, with Chris Clements the man to make way, as Jake Doyle-Hayes entered the fray.

Twelve minutes from time, the Saddlers pulled a goal back, as Gordon and Lavery combined to play in Adebayo, who coolly slotted home his fifth goal of the season.

The match settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, but six minutes from time, Cheltenham were able to create space for a shot, as Lloyd played a good ball into the box for May, whose shot on goal was blocked.

There was little further action of note before five additional minutes were added as a Holden free-kick sailed harmlessly over from twenty-yards out.

Doyle-Hayes went close early in added time, with an effort that ultimately sailed just wide of Roberts upright, before Clarke saw an effort blocked at the other end, but there were to be no further goals as the referee drew a halt to the contest with Cheltenham winning by three-goals-to-one. A disappointing display from the Saddlers who really didn't get going until the second-half, by which time it was already too late.

3 - 1
Sheaf (18')
Thomas (48')
May (72')
Adebayo (78')

ATT: 3,868 (812)
REF: Paul Marsden
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