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Match Report: Walsall 0 Cambridge United 2

Walsall were back in action on Tuesday evening as they played host to Cambridge United in League Two.
Heading into the match on the back of Saturday's two-all draw with last season's National League champions Barrow, the Saddlers went in search of their fourteenth league game without defeat as they looked to continue their promising start to the season.

Cambridge United got the match underway, and the visiting side created the first opening of the match just three minutes into the contest, as Harrison Dunk and Luke Hannant combined to gift Joe Ironside a shot on goal, but Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts was well placed to save the headed shot, though the flag had been raised so a goal would not have stood anyway.

With just nine minutes on the clock, a late challenge on Hannant, by Liam Kinsella, led to United being awarded a penalty. Paul Mullin stepped up to take the spot-kick, and duly converted to gift his side an early lead.

Walsall looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, but Wesley McDonald's tenth minute shot from outside the area was easily saved by U's 'keeper, Dimitar Mitov.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a brighter spell, but were unable to create much of note, as play centred largely around the midfield area.

Cambridge soon had the ball back at the other end though, where Mullin was presented with a chance on goal, however, his headed effort sailed over the crossbar without troubling the man between the sticks.

Back at the other end, the Saddlers won successive corners, but were unable to create a clear chance from either.

With twenty-three minutes on the clock, Hiram Boateng became the first player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Kinsella.

Cambridge went close to doubling their advantage in the twenty-eighth minute, as Ironside and Leon Davies combined to play in Hannant at the back post, but Roberts remained alert to the danger and pulled off a superb save to deny him.

The Saddlers were quick to counter, with Kinsella doing well to win the ball in midfield, before teeing McDonald up for a shot which was blocked by the U's defences. Danny Guthrie was then presented with a chance to level the scores, but skied his effort.

The U's were soon back on the attack, with Hannant seeing a right-footed, long-range effort blocked in the thirty-fourth minute, before Adam May fired wide from distance.

There was a lengthy pause in proceedings as we raced towards the break, whilst May received treatment for a head injury. He was eventually able to continue, and play got back underway.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time the Saddlers won a corner, which they were unable to make use of. That was the last real action of the half though, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with Cambridge leading by one-goal-to-nil.

-
HT
-
WALSALL
0 - 1
UNITED

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. The second-half began slowly, with the sides cancelling each other out early on, though Walsall did enjoy some good spells of possession, winning several corners, which the visiting side were able to clear.

With fifty-five minutes on the clock, Liam Kinsella became the second player to be booked, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Hannant.

Three minutes later, Cambridge were unlucky not to double their lead, as Roberts missed an in-swinging free-kick, allowing Ironside an effort on goal from close range, but the striker could only find the side-netting.

Sixty-four minutes in, Wes McDonald became the second Saddler to see yellow, being cautioned for a foul on Hannant.

The visiting side continued to press, and went close again in the sixty-fifth minute. Hannant finding himself some space before firing wide. United went on to win a corner moments later, as Roberts tipped a Mullin effort behind. The flag-kick coming to nothing.

With seventy-two minutes on the clock, Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke opted to make a double change to his line-up. Liam Kinsella and George Nurse the men to make way as Emmanuel Osadebe and Alfie Bates joined the fray.

The Cambridge backroom team took the chance to make their first change of the evening, two minutes later, as goal-scorer, Paul Mullin was replaced by Jack Iredale.

Just four minutes after making two initial changes to his side, Darrell Clarke opted to make a his third and final change of the night, as Elijah Adebayo made way for Bournemouth loanee, Jake Scrimshaw.

Ten minutes from time, Hayden White gave Cambridge a golden opportunity to double their advantage, as a handball in the box gifted the visitors a second penalty. Ironside stepped forth to take the spot-kick, and duly converted, sending Roberts the wrong way.

The visiting side almost put the game to bed, five minutes later, as a low ball, played to the back post was met by Ironside, but the strikers effort sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

Walsall won a corner in the eighty-eighth minute, as they looked to mount a late comeback; McDonald forcing the ball to be turned behind with a right-footed effort, but the flag-kick came to nothing.

Three additional minutes were added to end the game, as Caolan Lavery headed an effort wide. In the ninety-third minute, the U's opted to make their second change of the evening, with Luke Hannant making way for Idris El Mizouni.

That would be the final action of the evening, as the Saddlers unbeaten run came to an end. A disappointing display from the Bescot based boys, who failed to capitalise on their chances, and gifted too many opportunities to their visitors.

-
FT
-
WALSALL
0 - 2
UNITED


Mullin [P] (9')
Ironside [P], (80')
VENUE
Banks's Stadium
REFEREE
Anthony Backhouse

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