Match Report: Walsall 1 Swindon Town 2

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's Emirates FA Cup - Second Round clash between the Saddlers and Swindon Town.
After losing their last two outings, a league clash with Carlisle United and EFL Trophy meeting with Cambridge United, the Saddlers were looking to return to winning was as they welcomed Swindon to the Banks's.

Looking to secure a money-spinning Third Round tie, the Saddlers would have to be at their best if they were to disappoint the title-chasing Robins, who sat in the League Two Play-Off places ahead of kick-off.
 
Walsall got the match underway, and wasted little time creating their first opportunity of the afternoon, as Zak Mills fired goal-wards from outside the area just two minutes into the contest, though his effort failed to test Swindon Town goalkeeper, Joseph Wollacott as it sailed wide of the target.

As the Banks's stadium erupted into applause in memory of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Swindon won the first corner of the game, as Emmanuel Osadebe was forced to turn the ball behind, from which Louis Reed fired high over the crossbar.

Swindon continued to grow into the game, with Reed seeing an effort on goal blocked in the eighth minute, before Harry McKirdy attempted to find the goal from a tight angle three minutes later, though Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth was on hand to deny him.

With sixteen minutes on the clock, Swindon opened the scoring, as Jack Payne capitalised on a mistake by Osadebe and played in Tyreece Simpson, who fired home from close range.

The Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the nineteenth minute, as Kieran Phillips slotted the ball through for Conor Wilkinson who was felled by Ellis Iandolo inside the area, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

Back at the other end, five minutes later, the visiting side looked set to double their advantage as Payne fed the ball through to Iandolo who fired goal-wards, but Rushworth was alert to the danger and did just enough to knock the ball over the bar, and the resulting corner came to nothing.

Town continued to look the brighter of the two sides as the match continued, with Kaine Kesler-Hayden firing wide in the twenty-eighth minute.

As we reached the half hour mark, Walsall were presented with an opportunity to level the scores, but Wilkinson's first-time effort sailed high over the crossbar, and the Saddlers continued to show signs of improvement as the game continued, with Phillips forcing a save from Wollacott in the thirty-fifth minute.

With thirty-seven minutes on the clock, parity was restored, as Earing drove forwards with the ball before crossing to Osadebe who headed home from close range to secure his third goal of the season.

Hayden White became the first player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for a foul on Jonathon Williams in the forty-second minute.

Five minutes after equalising, the Saddlers could have taken the lead, as Wilkinson fired goal-wards from distance, but the Swindon shot-stopper was well placed to push the strike away from goal.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but there was little further action of note and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores tied at one-goal-apiece.

HT
WFC
1-1
STFC
 
The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Swindon got the match back underway, and just two minutes after the re-start, Harry McKirdy joined White in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Manny Monthe.

Another yellow card followed in the fiftieth minute, as Louis Reed received a caution for a foul on Earing.

Walsall created the first real chance of the second-half, in the fifty-second minute, but Wilkinson was unable to keep his low effort on target, firing narrowly wide of the upright from outside the area.

With fifty-six minutes on the clock, Manny Monthe joined those on a yellow, as he was cautioned by the referee following a foul on Simpson.

The game settled a little as it continued, but shortly after the hour mark, Payne won a corner for his team as an effort on goal was turned out of play by the hosts, but the flag-kick would come to nothing and the scores remained tied.

Swindon continued to press, with Reed firing an effort goal-wards in sixty-second minute, but Rushworth was alert to the danger and made the save.

Walsall opted to make their first change of the afternoon in the sixty-sixth minute, with Emmanuel Osadebe making way for Liam Kinsella, as Swindon also made their first substitution of the game, replacing Jonathon Williams with Ben Gladwin.

Mere seconds after the substitutions had been completed, Swindon re-took the lead. A left-footed shot from Kaine Kesler Hayden at close range restoring his sides earlier advantage.

With seventy-three minutes on the clock, Walsall chose to make two further changes to their line-up, with Zak Mills and George Miller making way as Otis Khan and Tyrese Shade joined the fray.

Another Swindon change followed moments later, as Harry McKirdy was replaced by Jayden Mitchell-Lawson.

The Saddlers looked to get back on level terms with their visitors as the game continued, with Phillips forcing a good save from Wollacott fourteen minutes from time, before Earing saw an effort blocked from the rebound.

The resulting corner came to nothing, but Shade fired goal-wards from outside the box moments later, seeing his shot stopped just short of the line.

With eighty-four minutes on the clock, Swindon opted to make their third change of the afternoon, with Ellis Iandolo making way for Romoney Crichlow-Noble.

The visiting side looked to put the game to bed moments after the substitution had been completed, but Mitchell-Lawson's volley was smothered by Rushworth who kept his side in the contest.

In the final minute of normal time, Otis Khan joined those already listed in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a caution for time wasting.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time Monthe knocked the ball down for Joss Labadie, who fired goal-wards only to see his effort saved by Wollacott, before Payne saw an effort deflected inches wide at the other end.

That would be the final action of note though, with the Saddlers denied a place in the third round draw by their visitors who ran out winners by two-goals-to-one.

FT
WFC
1-2
STFC
Osadebe (37) 
 
Simpson (16')
Kesler Hayden (67')
VENUE
Banks's Stadium
ATTENDANCE
4,331 (2,024)
REFEREE
Peter Wright
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