Match Report: Walsall 1 Brighton & Hove Albion U21s 0 Match Report: Walsall 1 Brighton & Hove Albion U21s 0
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 1 Brighton & Hove Albion U21s 0

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's EFL Trophy clash between Walsall and Brighton & Hove Albion U21s.
After winning two of their last three league outings, the Saddlers turned their attention to the group stage of the EFL Trophy as they played host to Brighton's Under-21s in their opening game of the competition.

Both teams took their time to settle into the game, with Brighton and Hove Albion enjoying a slightly better early spell, winning a corner in the fourth minute as Ash Taylor turned the ball out of play, but ultimately nothing would come of the flag-kick.

The visiting side continued to press, with James Furlong whipping a low cross into the area in the fifth minute for Evan Ferguson, who beat his marker before firing an effort narrowly wide.

Walsall began to grow more into the game as it continued, with Taylor heading wide from a free-kick in the sixth minute, before Tyrese Shade combined with Joe Willis to force Albion 'keeper, Tom McGill to make his first save of the evening.

Brighton had soon worked the ball back up to the other end, where Ferguson caused more problems for the Walsall defences, with Saddlers shot-stopper, Jack Rose and Taylor forced to pool their talents to keep his angled effort out.

The visiting team continued to look the more likely of the two sides to open the scoring as the match continued, with Jeremy Sarmiento firing narrowly wide, from outside the area in the tenth minute, before sending another effort wide just three minutes later.

The game settled a little as it continued, with Brighton continuing to see much of the ball, without really troubling their opposition defences, although fifteen minutes in, Marc Leonard did see an effort blocked, and his team won a corner kick five minutes later, as Joss Labadie was forced to clear, but nothing would come of that opportunity, or the flag-kick which followed two minutes later.

Walsall were eventually able to gain more of a foot-hold in the game, beginning to see more of the ball as we passed the half hour mark.

With thirty-two minutes played, Walsall tested McGill, with Hayden White delivering the ball into the box for Emmanuel Osadebe, who in turn set up Labadie, but the Albion 'keeper was able to keep his effort out.

Unperturbed, the Saddlers tried again, with Kieran Phillips taking the ball from Haydon Roberts inside the Albion box, but the strikers could only find the side-netting.

The Saddlers were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position in the forty-fourth minute, which Taylor played into the box for Phillips, who duly turned the ball home to gift his side a one-goal lead heading into the break.

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the action got back underway. Brighton began the second-half brightly, winning a free-kick just three minutes in, from which Roberts fired narrowly wide before his team won two corners in which also came to nothing.

Walsall were soon on the attack as they looked to extend their slender lead, with Osadebe seeing two efforts blocked from close range ten minutes into the half.
In the fifty-ninth minute, Brighton found themselves being reduced to ten men, as Gary Dicker saw red for a dangerous challenge on Osadebe.

Seconds after the red card was brandished, the Saddlers made a double change to their line-up, with both Joe Willis and Alfie Bates making way as Sam Perry and George Miller made their way onto the field.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side able to trouble their opposition 'keepers.

With sixty-eight minutes on the clock, the Albion bench opted to make their first change of the evening, with Jeremy Sarmiento being replaced by Andy Moran.

Moments after the Brighton change, the Saddlers went close to securing a second goal, but after McGill blocked Phillips shot, a scramble in the box ultimately ended with the visiting side clearing the danger.

The Saddlers saw much more of the ball as the game wore on, but were unable to create much, whilst Brighton were presented with an opportunity to level the scores in the seventy-seventh minute as Ferguson held up the ball for Moran, whose effort on goal from twenty-five yards sailed only narrowly wide of the upright.

A free-kick followed for the visitors moments later, but Roberts was unable to find the back of the net with his long range effort.

The changes came thick and fast as the final ten minutes were played out, with Cameron Peupion making way for Lorent Tolaj in the eightieth minute, before the Saddlers replaced Tyrese Shade with Jack Earing two minutes later.

Then, with eighty-four minutes on the clock, Albion opted to make a further change to their team, as Sam Packham was taken off in favour of Odel Offiah.

Five additional minutes were added to end the match, but there was little further action of note as the two sides continued to cancel each other out, and Walsall managed to hold on to their slender lead to see out the game.

Phillips (44')
Antony Coggins
1,299 (33) - Banks's Stadium
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