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Match Report: Southend United 0 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's League Two clash between Southend United and Walsall.
The Saddlers arrived at the match on the back of a disappointing defeat to Bolton Wanderers as they looked to be edging towards a much-needed win before a second-half collapse saw the Trotters take all three points.

With the number of games continuing to shrink, Brian Dutton's side were tasked with securing just a second win since mid-December as they took on one of their relegation rivals at Roots Hall.

Walsall got the match underway, and the visiting side saw plenty of the ball in the early goings, though they were unable to really test Southend United's defences.

Ashley Nathaniel-George caused some concerns for the hosts, requiring treatment just five minutes in, but he was eventually able to re-join the action, much to their relief.

The two sides largely cancelled each other out as the game continued, though the Saddlers were a little fortunate not to have more to do in the twelfth minute, as a long ball over the top bounced in the area, before Walsall were awarded a free-kick as Brandon Goodship backed into shot-stopper, Liam Roberts.

The Saddlers had soon worked the ball up to the other end, winning a corner as a Liam Kinsella effort was deflected behind. The flag-kick coming to nothing as Caolan Lavery's header goal-wards was saved by the legs of United 'keeper, Mark Oxley.

As we reached the quarter hour mark, Alan McCormack became the recipient of the game's first yellow card, receiving the caution following an argument.

The hosts first real chance of the evening came in the twenty-second minute, as Shrimpers captain, John White fired goal-wards from twenty yards out, but his effort sailed high over the Saddlers crossbar, without troubling Roberts.

Southend continued to enjoy a brighter spell, winning their first corner of the game in the twenty-ninth minute, as Mat Sadler was forced to turn the ball out of play, however, nothing would come of the opportunity as Timothee Dieng turned Sam Hart's in-swinger onto the crossbar, before the Saddlers cleared.

With thirty-one minutes on the clock, Josh Gordon became the second player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on former Saddler, Jason Demetriou.

The Shrimpers continued to look the brighter of the two sides, with Hart crossing another ball in for Dieng in the thirty-third minute, but Roberts remained alert to the danger and was able to make the save.

Thirty-six minutes into the contest, two further yellow cards were shown as both Caolan Lavery and John White were booked.

Five minutes before half-time, the Saddlers saw arguably their best chance of the half go begging, as Emmanuel Osadebe picked out Gordon in space, with the striker, unfortunately, firing wide.

Two additional minutes were 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 tied.

HT
SUFC
0-0
WFC

Walsall opted to make a triple substitution ahead of the re-start, with Max Melbourne, Josh Gordon and Caolan Lavery all sitting out the second-half as Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Wes McDonald and Derick Osei Yaw took their places as Southend got the action back underway.

The hosts began the second-half brightly, with Hart playing in Dieng just a minute in, but the striker failed to test Roberts with a headed effort which sailed wide of the upright.

United continued to enjoy a good spell, with Shaun Hobson and Goodship combining well in the forty-ninth minute, to set up Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, who also failed to test the Walsall shot-stopper, as his effort too went wide.

Roberts had more to do in the fifty-sixth minute, as Nathan Ferguson fired goal-wards following a short free-kick, with the 'keeper doing enough to turn the ball behind. The resulting corner coming to nothing.

With fifty-seven minutes on the clock, the hosts opted to make their first change of the evening, as Brandon Goodship made way for Simeon Akinola.

Moments after the substitution, Southend went close again; Nathaniel-George only able to find the side netting.

The home team continued to dominate, though Alan McCormack's sixty-second minute effort from distance never looked like troubling the Saddlers defences as it sailed high over the crossbar.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the sixty-fourth minute, allowing Osei-Yaw to receive treatment following an industrial, two-footed, challenge by Hart. Eventually, a red card was shown to Sam Hart for the offence.

Fortunately, Osei-Yaw was able to continue in the game, though the Saddlers did take the opportunity to make a fourth change to their side; Stuart Sinclair the man to make way as Sam Perry joined the fray.

With seventy-three minutes on the clock, Southend chose to make a second change to their line-up, as Alan McCormack made way for James Olayinka.

Just one minute later, the Saddlers rolled the dice, making their fifth and final substitution of the evening, as Cameron Norman was replaced by Frank Vincent.

Despite being a man down, the hosts continued to look the more likely to find a winning goal, with Akinola forcing a save from Roberts, ten minutes from time.

In the eighty-first minute, Walsall captain, James Clarke joined those on a caution, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Akinola. The resulting free-kick seeing Dieng head over a Hackett-Fairchild cross.

Two minutes later, Tom Leak also became the recipient of a yellow card, being cautioned for a foul on Olayinka.

United continued to seek opportunities for a late goal, with Akinola again forcing Roberts to make a save, with a headed effort from fifteen yards, in the eighty-fourth minute.

In the eighty-ninth minute, Derick Osei-Yaw became the seventh player to see yellow, receiving a caution for time wasting as he prevented the hosts taking a quick throw-in.

Five additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time the hosts continued to search for an elusive goal; White bringing Roberts into action with a twenty yard effort, which the shot-stopper turned behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

There was little further action of note following that chance, and the referee brought a halt to the contest with the sides sharing the spoils. A dreary performance from the Saddlers, though a welcome point on the road

FT
SUFC
0-0
WFC


VENUE
Roots Hall
REFEREE
David Rock

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