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Match Report: Oldham Athletic 1 Walsall 3

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday's League Two meeting between the Saddlers and Oldham Athletic.
With three unbeaten league games behind them, Matthew Taylor's Saddlers made the trip North to Boundary Park and took on Oldham Athletic with a view to moving further away from the relegation zone.

Walsall began the game brightly, creating the first chance of the evening just three minutes into the contest, as Conor Wilkinson and Joss Labadie combined to play in Tyrese Shade, whose effort on goal sailed wide of the near post.

It wasn't long before Oldham Athletic had a chance to score themselves, as, in the sixth minute, Jack Stobbs picked out Zachary Dearnley with a well-placed cross, but the striker was unable to find the target, firing over the crossbar from close range.

With just nine minutes on the clock, Walsall captain, Joss Labadie became the first player to see yellow, as he received a caution for felling Davis Keillor-Dunn.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the tenth minute, allowing Oldham captain, Alan Sheehan to receive treatment, but it was soon determined he would be unable to continue and the hosts were forced to make their first change of the game, introducing Hallam Hope in his place.

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

Things remained relatively quiet as both sides struggled to make much of their time in possession, but twenty-five minutes in, Hope played a lovely ball to Keillor-Dunn who was waiting on the edge of the area, but Walsall 'keeper, Carl Rushworth was well-placed and gathered the effort.

With twenty-seven minutes on the clock, Jamie Bowden became the second player to pick up a booking as he was shown the yellow card for a late challenge on Labadie.

Thirty-three minutes into the contest, Walsall found the breakthrough, as Wilkinson passed the ball to Jack Earing who found the bottom corner with a strike from twenty-five yards out to give his side a one-goal lead.

The lead was very nearly short-lived, as six minutes after the goal, Keillor-Dunn crossed the ball to the feet of Dylan Bahamboula who flicked the ball goal-wards, catching Rushworth a little off-guard, with the 'keeper spilling the ball, forcing Rollin Menayese to step in to clear the danger.

Ten minutes after taking the lead, Walsall doubled their advantage, as George Miller converted from close range as a blocked shot from Emmanuel Osadebe landed kindly for him.

Two 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 two-goals-to-nil at the break.

HT
OAFC
0-2
WFC
 
Oldham opted to make a change as the teams returned, with Zachary Dearnley sitting out the second-half as Faysal Bettache took his place. Much of the early action centred around the midfield area as the teams settled back into the game.

The Saddlers created the first chance of the half in the fifty-second minute, but Stephen Ward's sliced effort sailed harmlessly over Latics 'keeper, Jayson Leutwiler's crossbar.

The hosts took little time working the ball up to the other end, where Hope forced a diving save from Rushworth.

The game settled again, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball, whilst struggling to create anything to test their opposition defences, though the Saddlers did win a corner in the sixty-first minute, from which Osadebe fired wide.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, Oldham opted to make their third and final change of the evening, with Jack Stobbs making way for Harry Vaughan.

Two minutes later, Walsall chose to make their first change of the game, as Tyrese Shade was replaced by Brendan Kiernan.

Oldham began to test the Saddlers defences more as the game continued, with Hope forcing a save from Rushworth with a headed effort in the sixty-seventh minute as he connected with a curling cross from Benny Cuoto. Hope had more luck from the resulting corner, as he headed home a Bowden cross to reduce his sides deficit to one.

With sixty-eight minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Conor Wilkinson the man to make way as Kieran Phillips joined the fray.

Walsall looked to restore their two-goal lead quickly, with Labadie seeing an effort blocked moments after the change, before Kiernan found his opportunity to add to his sides tally thwarted by an offside decision.

Unperturbed, the Saddlers continued to turn up the heat, with Osadebe trying his luck from twenty-five yards in the seventy-second minute, but he was unable to keep his effort on target and the ball sailed harmlessly wide of the upright.

Jack Whelan became the third player to see yellow in the seventy-sixth minute, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Osadebe.

Osadebe went close to restoring his sides earlier advantage moments later, as he got on the end of a Phillips cross and fired goal-wards, but Leutwiler was alert to the danger and made the save.

The Saddlers continued to look the more likely to score as the game entered the final ten minutes, with Miller seeing a headed effort saved in the eighty-first minute.

Four minutes later, Osadebe had more luck, essentially putting the game to bed and securing all three points for the travelling side, as the striker got the better of Leutwiler and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

In the final minute of regulation time, Walsall opted to make their third and final change of the evening, as Joss Labadie made way for Sam Perry.

Four additional minutes were added to end the match, but there was little further action of note and the referee's whistle eventually sounded with the Saddlers winning by three-goals-to-one. A good display from the travelling side, who took their chances well.

FT
OAFC
1-3
WFC
Hope (67')
 
 
Earing (33')
Miller (43')
Osadebe (85')
REFEREE
Ross Joyce
ATT / AT
- Boundary Park
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