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Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 2 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between Bolton Wanderers and Walsall.
Brian Dutton and his Saddlers arrived at this weekend's match on the back of a late draw with Crawley Town and in search of what would have been just their second win in sixteen league outings.

Bolton got the match underway, and within a minute the hosts had fired their first shot goal-wards, with Kieran Lee and Oladapo Afolayan combining to test Walsall 'keeper, Liam Roberts, who was able to make the save.

Three minutes in, the Saddlers won a free-kick at the other end, as Alex Baptiste fouled Caolan Lavery. Emmanuel Osadebe swung the ball into the box, where Lavery was lurking, but the striker was unable to get a decisive touch on it to turn it home.

Walsall felt they should have been awarded a penalty just five minutes into the contest, as Lavery was felled inside the area, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

The visiting side continued to enjoy a good spell, winning the first corner of the match in the eighth minute, as a James Clarke effort was blocked. The flag-kick ultimately coming to nothing.

Bolton began to see more of the ball as we passed the quarter hour mark, winning their first corner of the game as Nathan Delfouneso, Afolayan and Declan John combined to force Hayden White to turn behind. The flag-kick coming to nothing.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball without creating much to trouble their opposition, until, in the twenty-fourth minute, Lavery played the ball to Osadebe, who fired goal-wards, forcing Bolton shot-stopper, Matthew Gilks to make a save.

Four minutes later, Gilks was beaten, as Sam Perry, enjoying just his fifth appearance for the first team, collected the ball outside the area and fired a powerful, left-footed effort into the bottom corner, opening his account in some style.

The hosts set about looking to restore parity quickly, winning a corner in the thirtieth minute, but Kieran Lee's goal-ward effort from the flag-kick sailed over the bar.

Walsall soon had the ball back at the other end, seeing a Lavery header sail wide before winning a corner themselves, which would also come to nothing.

The Saddlers continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, though they were unable to test the Bolton defences.

There was a brief pause in proceedings in the fortieth minute, allowing White to receive treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Walsall captain, James Clarke became the first player to receive a caution in the forty-fifth minute, as he was booked for a foul on Afolayan.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but there was little further action of note and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the Saddlers leading by one-goal-to-nil at the break

HT
BWFC
0-1
WFC

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the second-half underway, but within seconds of the re-start play was paused, allowing Max Melbourne to receive treatment for a knock. Fortunately, it was soon determined he would be able to continue and play resumed.

Bolton went close to levelling the scores in the fiftieth minute, but after some good work from Lee to work the ball up field, Afolayan's twenty yard effort sailed inches over the crossbar.

The home team continued to enjoy a good spell of play, and should have restored parity in the fifty-fifth minute, as Gethin Jones crossed the ball in for Afolayan, whose headed effort from close range somehow sailed wide of the upright.

With fifty-nine minutes on the clock, the Saddlers created their first chance of the second-half, with Lavery doing well to create space to shoot, but his effort from outside the box sailed narrowly wide of Gilks goal.

Just three minutes later, with the ball back at the other end, Afolayan and John combined to bring Roberts into play, forcing the 'keeper to tip the ball over the bar from a corner, with the resulting flag-kick also coming to nothing as Almeida Santos' headed effort sailed wide.

With sixty-seven minutes on the clock, the home side levelled the scores. Roberts doing well to prevent a deflected own goal, before Lee headed the rebound home. It had been coming.

Walsall were reduced to ten men in the seventy-third minute, as Hayden White received a red card following a clash with Afolayan.

The Saddlers responded to the dismissal by making their first change of the afternoon. Josh Gordon making way for Callum Cockerill-Mollett in the seventy-seventh minute.

Ten minutes from time, the hosts were gifted an opportunity to take the lead for the first time in the game, as they were awarded a penalty for a Mat Sadler foul on Lee. Bolton captain, Eoin Doyle stepped up to take the spot-kick and duly converted.

The hosts continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, winning a corner in the eighty-second minute, as Liam Kinsella turned the ball behind, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

Five minutes from time, the home side opted to make a double substitution, with both Oladapo Afolayan and Lloyd Isgrove making way as Arthur Gnahoua and Zachary Elbouzedi took their places.

Declan John received the second yellow card of the game in the eighty-sixth minute, being booked for a foul on Cameron Norman.

A triple substitution followed in the eighty-eighth minute, as the Saddlers chose to replace Mat Sadler, Emmanuel Osadebe and Caolan Lavery with Alfie Bates, Wes McDonald and Derick Osei Yaw.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time Bolton opted to make a third change to their line-up, with goal-scorer, Eoin Doyle making way for Shaun Miller.

After diving inside the box in the ninety-second minute, Cameron Norman became the third player to see yellow.

Wanderers chose to make a fourth change to their side ninety-four minutes into the contest, with Nathan Delfouneso making way for George Thomason.

That would be the final action of the match though, as Bolton held on to win the game by two-goals-to-one. A disappointing and ill-disciplined display from the Saddlers, which draws them ever closer to the drop-zone.

FT
BWFC
2-1
WFC
Lee (67')
Doyle [P], (80')
Perry (28')

VENUE
UoB Stadium
REFEREE
Seb Stockbridge

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