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21/11/2020

Match Report: Cheltenham Town 3 Walsall 0

The Saddlers were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they made the trip to Whaddon Road.
Taking on third-placed Cheltenham Town, the midtable Saddlers were looking to rebound from their disappointing defeat to bottom-of-the-table Southend United, a result which saw them make it three all-competition defeats in a row.

Cheltenham Town got the match underway, but it was Walsall who created the first chance of the afternoon, as Rory Holden played in Elijah Adebayo in the fifth minute, but Ben Tozer was on hand for the hosts, with a sliding tackle that ensured the effort would come to nought.

The home team soon had the ball up at the other end, but Chris Hussey was caught in an offside position as Charlie Raglan looked to slip the ball through to him.

With just ten minutes on the clock, the Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty as Liam Kinsella was felled inside the area, but the referee saw it differently and brandished the yellow card as he booked the Walsall man for diving.

The hosts went close in the thirteenth minute, as William Boyle got on the end of an Alfie May cross, but the defenders headed effort sailed narrowly wide.

Town continued to press, with Andy Williams seeing an effort blocked by Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts. The resulting corner coming to nothing, but the side continued to see plenty of the ball as the game continued.

With twenty-two minutes on the clock, Cheltenham should have opened the scoring, as a Hussey delivery into the box was met by Williams, but his headed effort cannoned back off the post.

A series of fouls and free-kicks followed as the game became a little scrappy, though Walsall did begin to see more of the ball.

In the thirty-fourth minute, Walsall almost found the breakthrough as a cross into the box from Cameron Norman was deflected goal-wards, but Raglan's deflection had just enough on it to carry the ball over the crossbar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Back at the other end, moments later, the ball was played into the path of Williams, whose effort on goal found only the side netting.

The home side again went close in the forty-first minute, but Matty Blair's effort from outside the box, sailed wide.

Back at the other end, just a minute later, Jake Scrimshaw clipped the crossbar with a half-volley.

With forty-four minutes played, Rory Holden became the second player to see his name taken by the referee, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on May.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to create anything further of note, and the teams headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

-
HT
-
ROBINS
0 - 0
WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the second-half underway. The visiting side started brightly, winning a corner just a minute in, as Tozer was forced to turn the ball behind, but the set-piece came to nothing.

Just five minutes into the half, Cheltenham were gifted the lead, as a long throw into the box from Tozer was met by the head of Dan Scarr, whose unfortunate touch evaded Roberts and found the net.

The hosts continued to press, winning a corner just two minutes after the goal, as Scarr turned the ball behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing.

Town again went close in the fifty-fifth minute, as a Boyle header across the face of goal almost found the target, with May following up with an effort which struck a Walsall body, keeping it out.

With fifty-eight minutes on the clock, Cheltenham doubled their advantage, as a Williams effort was blocked by Zak Jules, with the ball then falling to Blair who fired a powerfully struck effort home from close range.

The Saddlers enjoyed a brighter spell following the second goal, winning a corner kick shortly after, which came to nothing, and generally seeing more of the ball, though they remained unable to test the Cheltenham 'keeper.

With twenty minutes of the game remaining, Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke, opted to make his first changes of the game, with Danny Guthrie, Elijah Adebayo and Callum Cockerill-Mollett all making way as Wes McDonald, Caolan Lavery and James Clarke took their places.

In the seventy-third minute, the hosts almost created a third, but May chose to shoot from outside the box, sending his effort high and wide, moments before Liam Sercombe saw a long-range shot blocked.

With eighty-one minutes on the clock, Caolan Lavery became the second Walsall man booked for simulation, as Saddlers calls for a penalty fell on deaf ears.

Moments after the booking, the hosts almost put the game to bed, as Boyle got his head to an in-swinging free-kick, but the Walsall shot-stopper got to the ball to prevent the goal.

Four minutes from time, both Alfie May and Zak Jules joined the growing ranks in the referee's notebook, as each received a yellow card for an arguing.

That would be Alfie May's final contribution to the game, as he was then replaced by George Lloyd.

The Saddlers also took the opportunity to alter their line-up, with both Jake Scrimshaw and Emmanuel Osadebe making way, as Stuart Sinclair and Jack Nolan took their places.

With eighty-eight minutes on the clock, the hosts put the game to bed. A free-kick in a dangerous position allowing Hussey to cross the ball in for Tozer, whose flick on was enough to beat Roberts.

Four minutes were added to end the game, during which time, McDonald forced the first real save of the game from Town 'keeper, Joshua Griffiths, with a thirty yard effort, and the resulting corner came to nothing.

With just one minute remaining, Cheltenham opted to make a second change to their line up, as Andy Williams was replaced by Reuben Reid.

That would be the final action of the afternoon, as the referee called time with Cheltenham's three-goal lead remaining intact. A disappointing afternoon all round for the Saddlers, who put on a decent display in the first-half, only to fall apart in the second.

-
FT
-
ROBINS
3 - 0
WALSALL
Scarr OG (50')
Blair (58')
Tozer (88')



VENUE
Whaddon Road
REFEREE
Sam Purkiss

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