Match Report: Cambridge United 2 Walsall 0 Match Report: Cambridge United 2 Walsall 0
By: Bescot Banter •

Match Report: Cambridge United 2 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's EFL Trophy - Round Two clash between the Saddlers and Cambridge United.
After finishing second in their group, behind table-toppers Forest Green Rovers, Matthew Taylor's Saddlers were drawn away from home in Round Two of the Papa John's Trophy, with League One's Cambridge United determined as their opponents.

Walsall began the game brightly, with Emmanuel Osadebe forcing a save from Cambridge United goalkeeper, Kai McKenzie-Lyle just three minutes in, after intercepting a pass before racing goal-wards.
The shot-stopper was equal to the effort though, palming the ball out of play for the first corner of the match, which came to nothing as Ash Taylor saw a shot blocked.

The Saddlers continued to press, with Conor Wilkinson firing an effort inches wide of the target moments later, before seeing another shot sail narrowly wide in the sixth minute.

The shots continued thick and fast from the visiting side, with Wilkinson headed Kieran Phillips through one-on-one in the seventh minute, but McKenzie-Lyle was alert to the danger and made the save.

Cambridge began to grow into the game more as the minutes ticked by, winning their first corner of the evening in the ninth minute, as Taylor turned the ball out of play. The ball was swung into the box by Jack Iredale, for Jensen Weir, but the effort sailed wide of the mark without causing concern to Walsall shot-stopper, Jack Rose.

Walsall has soon worked the ball back up field, where they won a corner themselves, which Jack Earing crossed onto the head of Wilkinson, whose stooping header sailed wide of the far post.

Cambridge were presented with the best chance of the evening in the seventeenth minute, as they were awarded a penalty thanks to a late challenge on Sam Smith. The fouled man stepped forth for his team, and duly converted to put his side ahead.

With twenty-one minutes on the clock, Hayden White became the first player to see his name added to the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a late tackle on Jack Lankester.

The game settled a little after the goal, but twenty-six minutes in, the Saddlers could have equalised, as some great work from White delivered the ball to Wilkinson, whose headed effort sailed inches wide of the far post.

Walsall were presented with an opportunity to level the scores in the thirty-fourth minute, as the referee pointed to the spot following a foul by Conor Masterson on Kieran Phillips inside the area, but the fouled man saw his effort saved by McKenzie-Lyle.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side creating much of note as we raced towards the break.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to find a goal during them, and the teams headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments, with Cambridge leading by one-goal-to-nil at the break.

The teams returned unchanged after the interval, and play got back underway. Walsall looked the brighter of the two sides during the opening minutes of the half, as they looked to get back onto level terms with their hosts, but their best chance on goal saw Monthe connect with an Otis Khan cross only to head the ball over the crossbar five minutes in.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, Jack Iredale joined those listed in the referee's notebook, as he was shown the yellow card after felling Wilkinson. The resulting free-kick saw Earing cross the ball into the box for Taylor, whose headed effort flew narrowly over the bar.

As we reached the hour mark, Walsall opted to make a double change to their line-up, with Conor Wilkinson and Hayden White making way for George Miller and Zak Mills.

Two minutes later, Cambridge followed suit, making two changes themselves as Sam Smith and Jack Iredale were replaced by Harrison Dunk and Shilow Tracey.

The Saddlers began to show more signs of promise after the changes were completed, with Tyrese Shade looking to play Earing in in the sixty-sixth minute, but the midfielders effort from range sailed wide of the upright, before Liam Kinsella worked the ball to Otis Khan who also saw an effort from outside the box fail to test the United shot-stopper.

With sixty-nine minutes on the clock, Lewis Simper became the latest player to see yellow, as the referee cautioned him following a foul on Kinsella.

Walsall continued to seek an equalising goal as the game continued, winning a free-kick in the seventieth minute, from which Khan tried his luck from range, but McKenzie-Lyle read the effort well and got down to deny him. The shot-stopper was tested again from the resulting corner, with Taylor rising well to head the ball goal-wards, but the 'keeper did enough to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

With seventy-three minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make a third change to their line-up, with Jack Earing the man to make way as Shay Willock took to the field to make his first-team debut.

The home side also took the opportunity to make further changes to their team, with Jack Lankester and Lewis Simper both departing as James Brophy and Paul Digby took their places.

Eighty minutes into the contest, Cambridge all but put the game to bed, as substitute, Tracey capitalised on a mistake by Taylor and fired home from close range.

Three minutes after the goal, the Saddlers opted to make their final changes of the evening, with Liam Kinsella and Emmanuel Osadebe making way as Alfie Bates and Sam Perry took their places.

Bates conceded a corner moments after his introduction, from which Ben Worman fired narrowly over the crossbar as the hosts looked to ensure there was no way back for their visitors.

As the board went up to indicate four minutes of added time would be played, Cambridge chose to make their fifth and final change of the evening, with Ben Worman making way for Kai Yearn.

Mere seconds into the four additional minutes, Walsall almost reduced the deficit as Bates laid the ball off to Shade, but Liam Bennett read the move well and blocked the shot. Unperturbed, the Saddlers continued to seek a late consolation goal, with Willock and Miller combining to force a save from McKenzie-Lyle.

That would be the last action of note though, and the scores remained unchanged. Cambridge United advancing in the competition as they ran out winners by two-goal-to-nil.

Smith [P] (18')
Tracey (80') 
Will Finnie
The Abbey Stadium
718 (104)
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