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Match Report: Colchester United 2 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday evening's League Two clash between Colchester United and the Saddlers.
Despite enduring a tough few months, Brian Dutton's Walsall arrived at the match with a six-game unbeaten spell to build upon and in search of the points which would see them secure a place in the fourth tier for at least another season.

Following a minute of silence in memory of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Colchester United got the match underway.

The home team began the game brightly, winning a corner just two minutes into the contest, as Sam Perry was forced to turn the ball out of play. Nothing would come of the flag-kick though and play continued.

Colchester saw much of the ball in the early goings, though they struggled to break through the Walsall defences, at least until the tenth minute, when Callum Harriott should probably have opened the scoring with a curling effort which, agonisingly for United, cannoned back off the upright.

United continued to dominate as Walsall struggled to gain, or maintain, possession. Things began to swing the other way as we headed past the quarter-hour mark though, with the Saddlers beginning to see more of the ball, and twenty minutes in, Tyreik Wright and Emmanuel Osadebe combined to force a block from Miles Welch-Hayes.

The resulting corner was swung in by Wright and headed on by Caolan Lavery for captain, James Clarke, who poked home at the back post from close range to put his side ahead.

The home side looked to respond quickly after falling a goal behind, but after some good play from Frank Nouble to work the ball into the danger zone, Michael Folivi failed to control, allowing Walsall to clear.

With twenty-seven minutes on the clock, Harry Pell became the first player to see yellow, picking up a booking for a foul on Osadebe.

The hosts continued to seek a route back onto level terms, with Folivi seeing an acrobatic effort sail wide in the thirty-first minute.

With thirty-seven minutes on the clock, Folivi had more luck in front of the goal, as an effort from a corner kick collided with the crossbar, allowing the striker a simple tap in from the rebound to restore parity.

The Saddlers were lucky not to fall behind three minutes later, as a clearance from Max Melbourne to deny Folivi a second only just made it over the crossbar.

The home side continued to threaten as we raced towards the break, with Walsall shot-stopper, Jack Rose forced to make a save to deny Pell in the forty-second minute before Folivi dragged an effort wide.

With forty-four minutes on the clock, Tyreik Wright became the second player to see yellow, as he received a caution for a foul on Harriott.

Two minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time there was a stoppage in play, allowing Harriot to receive treatment for a knock, but he was soon back on his feet and able to see out the final few moments.

As play resumed, the ball was played to Ryan Clampin twenty yards from goal, with the defender firing his side into the lead just as the referee brought an end to the opening forty-five.

HT
ColU
SCORE
WFC

Colchester opted to make a change ahead of the second-half, as the previously injured Callum Harriott sat out the second forty-five, with Ben Stevenson taking his place as Walsall got the action back underway.

With fifty minutes on the clock, Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu became the third player to see yellow, as he received a caution from the referee for a foul on Liam Kinsella.

The Saddlers enjoyed a decent opening ten minutes to the half, though they were unable to test their opposition defences, meaning it was Colchester's Noah Chilvers who saw the first real effort of the half, in the fifty-fourth minute. His effort from the edge of the area sailing straight into the waiting arms of the Walsall shot-stopper.

Colchester continued to enjoy a brighter spell, winning a corner in the fifty-eighth minute, which was played in to Nouble, who flicked on for Folivi whose header goal-wards was caught by Rose.

With sixty-one minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make a double substitution; Liam Kinsella and Tyreik Wright the two men to make way as Alfie Bates and Wes McDonald joined the fray.

One minute later, United goalkeeper, Shamal George joined those already in the referee's notebook, as he received a caution for time wasting.

The Saddlers then saw a chance to draw level missed, as Lavery looked to play in Osadebe, whose powerful strike sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.

The hosts had soon worked the ball back to the other end through Sarpong-Wiredu, but the midfielder wasted the opportunity he had created, firing over.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with Walsall seeing much of the ball but failing to test their opposition defences. Osadebe firing wide the only real opportunity created in the seventieth minute.

The home team were eventually able to work the ball back up to the other end, where both Folivi and Sarpong-Wiredu saw efforts blocked as they sought to put the game to bed.

With seventy-seven minutes on the clock, Colchester chose to make a double change to their line-up; Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu having to make way due to injury, being joined by Michael Folivi as Courtney Senior and Jevani Brown took their places.

The game settled again following the changes, with little action of note from either side, though eighty-six minutes in, the hosts won a corner, from which Nouble headed wide, without troubling the man between the sticks, shortly before Chilvers fired over.

With eighty-seven minutes on the clock, Walsall chose to make a third change to their line-up, with Emmanuel Osadebe making way for Derick Osei Yaw.

In the first of five additional minutes, United opted to make a further change themselves, with Noah Chilvers stepping aside as Tom Lapslie joined the action.

There was little further action of note, and after the final few minutes were played, the game ended with Colchester winning by two-goals-to-one. The Saddlers tasting defeat for the first time in seven game.

FT
ColU
2-1
WFC
Fovili (37')
Clampin (45+4')
Clarke (20')

VENUE
Colchester Community Stadium
REFEREE
Carl Boyeson

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