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Match Report: Sutton United 0 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between the Saddlers and Sutton United.
With a welcome unbeaten run to build upon, Matthew Taylor's Saddlers arrived at the match in search of three more points as they look to continue their steady climb away from the relegation zone.

The game got off to a slow start as the two sides took some time to settle, but five minutes into the contest, Walsall created the first opportunity to score, as George Miller played the ball into the path of Brendan Kiernan, whose effort on goal was kept out by Sutton United goalkeeper, Dean Bouzanis.

The Saddlers continued to show promise, with Joss Labadie playing Miller in moments later, but the striker was unable to keep his effort down.

Sutton began to grow into the game as it continued, with David Ajiboye crossing the ball in for Alistair Smith in the eighth minute, but Smith's shot bobbled wide of the upright without troubling Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth.

United saw another chance missed in the twelfth minute, as they continued to enjoy a brighter spell; Will Randall seeing an effort blocked before the Saddlers ensured nothing would come of the resulting corner.

Another corner followed for the hosts as we reached the quarter hour mark, from which Ben Goodliffe saw a headed effort blocked, resulting in yet another corner kick, which the visiting side were able to clear.

Sutton continued to dominate, with Randall breaking with the ball following a Walsall corner, before playing in Issac Olaofe, whose shot from outside the box sailed narrowly wide of the mark.

Back at the other end, Walsall won another corner in the twentieth minute, from which Rollin Menayese turned the ball wide with a headed effort.

Five minutes later, Sutton again found themselves with a chance to open the scoring, as Randall fired goal-wards from the edge of the box, but his curling effort failed to test Rushworth sailed inches over the crossbar.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball, whilst creating little to test their opposition defences.

There was little further action of note until Omar Bugiel was presented with a chance to open the scoring in the thirty-eighth minute, but his headed effort from the centre of the box sailed wide of Rushworth's upright.

Play was briefly paused in the forty-third minute, allowing Sutton captain, Robert Milsom to receive treatment, following a foul by Joss Labadie, but he was soon back on his feet and able to see out the first-half, and the Walsall captain became the first player to see yellow as a result of the incident.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to make use of the time and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores tied.

HT
SUFC
0-0
WFC
 
The teams returned unchanged following the break, and the action got back underway. Both sides took time to settle back into the game, with neither causing their opposition defences any cause for concern in the opening five minutes or so.

Bouzanis was called into action six minutes into the second-half, as Hayden White found his way through the Sutton defences, but the United shot-stopper was alert to the danger and ensured the scores remained level.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side causing great concern to their opposition defences.

With fifty-nine minutes on the clock, Walsall chose to make the first change of the afternoon, with Kieran Phillips making way for Tyrese Shade.

Rushworth was tested in the sixty-second minute, as Ajiboye worked his way into space before firing goal-wards, forcing the goalkeeper to palm the ball away.

Walsall manager, Matthew Taylor was rewarded for his earlier substitution in the sixty-sixth minute, as the visiting side won a free-kick just outside the box, which Shade fired low past Bouzanis to put his side ahead.

In the seventy-second minute, United opted to make their first change of the game, with Will Randall making way for Enzio Boldewijn.

The home team almost levelled the scores moments after the substitution, as a slip from Jack Earing allowed space for Ajiboye to fire goal-wards, but fortunately for the Walsall man, his blushes were spared as the effort struck the crossbar.

Seventy-six minutes in, the hosts opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Issac Olaofe making way for Donovan Wilson.

The home side continued to seek an equaliser as we entered the final ten minutes, but the Walsall defences stood firm, and their best chance fell to Coby Rowe in the eighty-third minute, but his long range effort sailed harmlessly wide.

With eighty-four minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make a second change to their team, with Emmanuel Osadebe sitting out the final few minutes as Sam Perry took his place.

Two minutes later, both managers took the opportunity to make their third and final changes of the afternoon. Sutton replacing Omar Bugiel with Tobi Sho-Silva, whilst Walsall replaced Brendan Kiernan with Ash Taylor for the run in.

Sho-Silva looked to make an immediate impact after his arrival into the game, playing the ball in for fellow substitute Boldewijn, but the shot from outside the box was saved by an alert Rushworth.

Four additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, Sam Perry saw his name added to the referee's notebook, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Ajiboye.
 
The hosts continued to seek an equaliser deep into stoppage time, but Sho-Silva fired their best chance to do so over the crossbar, and the referee eventually ended the contest with the Saddlers slender one-goal lead intact.

FT
SUFC
0-1
WFC

Shade (66')
REF
Carl Boyeson
ATT / AT
3,319 - Gander Green Lane
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