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Match Report: Oldham Athletic 2 Walsall 3

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's League Two clash between Oldham Athletic and Walsall.
Heading into the match on the back of Saturday afternoon's victory over Bolton Wanderers and in search of a third win on the bounce, Darrell Clarke's Saddlers were hoping to edge a little closer to the Play-Off places.

Walsall began the game brightly, creating their first chance on goal in the sixth minute, as Wes McDonald and Rory Holden combined well to work the ball to Josh Gordon, however Oldham Athletic captain, Carl Piergianni was on hand to ensure that nothing would come of the move as he blocked the strikers low cross. The resulting corner saw Dan Scarr fire over the crossbar, as he got on the end of Holden's cross.

Both sides enjoyed time on the ball, with Oldham increasingly growing into the game as it continued, though neither side was able to create much going forwards in the early goings.

The teams remained unable to carve a clear-cut chance, until, in the twenty-second minute, a Gordon effort from the edge of the area was deflected, unluckily for the Saddler, into the path of Oldham shot-stopper, Ian Lawlor.

Within seconds of that incident, a foul inside the area by Dylan Fage on McDonald, saw Walsall awarded a penalty. Gordon stepped up to take the spot-kick, and duly converted, sending Lawlor the wrong way as he tucked the ball into the bottom corner.

With twenty-four minutes on the clock, Carl Piergianni received the first yellow card of the game, as he was booked for a foul on Liam Kinsella.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with the sides cancelling each other out, although Oldham did win their first corner of the match in the thirtieth minute, though nothing would come of it.

Three minutes later, the Saddlers went close to doubling their advantage, as Holden swung the ball towards the back post, for Gordon, whose headed effort took an unfortunate deflection off Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, which took the ball out of play for a corner, which came to nothing.

Another corner followed at the other end, just two minutes later, as Cameron Norman turned the ball out of play. The ball in, from Bobby Grant, looked good, picking out Piergianni in the centre of the area, but the Oldham captain was unable to keep his effort on target, sending the ball high and wide.

The end-to-end action continued, with Gordon playing in Elijah Adebayo moments later, however the Brent born striker clipped the post with his effort from outside the area.

Oldham finally called Walsall shot-stopper, Jack Rose into action in the thirty-eighth minute, as Conor McAleny combined with Grant to play in Alfie McCalmont. Rose was well positioned though and saved the initial effort, before the bar came to the Saddlers rescue to deny the follow-up.

There was then a brief pause in proceedings, whilst Zak Jules received treatment for a knock. It was eventually decided that Jules would be unable to continue, and Hayden White took his place as the action resumed in the forty-fourth minute.

The hosts went close to levelling the scores in the forty-fifth minute, as Dylan Bahamboula fired a low effort goal-wards, with the ball hitting the post and trickling across the face of goal before the Saddlers managed to clear the danger.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to create anything further of note, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the Saddlers leading by one-goal-to-nil.

-
HT
-
OLDHAM
0 - 1
WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. Shortly after the re-start, Ben Garrity almost levelled the scores, but his effort from outside the area was saved as it headed towards the bottom corner.

The Saddlers were soon on the attack, winning a corner in the forty-ninth minute, which came to nothing, before Holden worked the ball to Gordon in the fifty-first minute, with the striker seeing a free shot on goal scuffed over the bar.

However, with fifty-two minutes on the clock, the visiting side had more luck in front of goal, as a Norman cross found Piergianni who turned the ball into his own net to gift the Saddlers a two goal advantage.

That advantage would be short lived, however, as, following a scramble in the box, caused by a Bahamboula cross into the crowded area, Fage turned the ball home to pull a goal back for his side in the fifty-fifth minute.

As we reached the hour mark, the Latics opted to make their first change of the evening, as Brice Ntambwe made way for Davis Keillor-Dunn.

With sixty-eight minutes on the clock, the hosts chose to make a second change to their line-up, with Conor McAleny being replaced by Zak Dearnley.

Seconds before the change was made, Oldham had won a free-kick in a dangerous position, for a foul on Piergianni by Adebayo. Once the substitution was completed, the set-piece saw Bahamboula swing the ball into the box for his captain who headed home to tie the scores.

The scores did not remain tied for long, as seventy-three minutes in, Adebayo restored Walsall's earlier lead, as he prodded home a McDonald cross, to secure his third goal in as many games.

In the seventy-sixth minute, Walsall opted to make their second change of the evening, as Josh Gordon made way for Stuart Sinclair.

Shortly after the change, the Saddlers were presented with an opportunity to restore a two-goal cushion, but Lawlor somehow managed to keep out White's free-kick to keep his side in the game.

The hosts went on to create a chance at the other end, moments later, but Dearnley was unable to keep his effort on target, sending the ball high and wide.

With eighty-three minutes played, the Saddlers made opted to make a double substitution. Wes McDonald and Elijah Adebayo the duo making way, as Jake Scrimshaw and Caolan Lavery entered the fray.

Little over a minute after his introduction into the game, Scrimshaw found himself in shooting range, but his low effort on goal sailed narrowly wide of the target.

Five minutes from time, the Latics chose to make a third change to their line-up, with Alfie McCalmont making way for Jordan Barnett.

Four additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, both Ben Garrity and James Clarke saw yellow. Garrity picking up a booking for a foul on Kinsella, just a minute before Clarke was cautioned for a foul on Dearnley. However there were no other chances of note, and the game ended with the Saddlers winning by three-goals-to-two.

-
FT
-
OLDHAM
2 - 3
WALSALL
Fage (55')
Piergianni (68')

Gordon [P] (23')
Piergianni [OG] (52')
Adebayo (73')
VENUE
Boundary Park
REFEREE
James Bell

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