Match Report: Walsall 0 West Ham United U21s 1 Match Report: Walsall 0 West Ham United U21s 1

Match Report: Walsall 0 West Ham United U21s 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' Papa John's Trophy - Southern Group C clash with West Ham United U21s.
Attention turned to cup action on Tuesday evening as the Saddlers welcomed West Ham United U21s to WS1 for the first group game of this season's EFL Trophy.

Winless in their last five outings, Walsall went in search of a positive result as they looked to settle the tie before the ever-possible post-match penalty shootout.

The game got off to a slow start, and  although both sides did force early corners, neither resulted in a real chance to open the scoring.

The teams grew into the game, and fourteen minutes in, some good work from Pierre Ekwah allowed Divin Mubama a shot at goal, but Walsall shot-stopper, Adam Przybek was alert to the danger and got down well to make the save.

Walsall were quick to work the ball up to the other end, with Liam Bennett crossing the ball onto the head of Flynn Clarke, who nodded goal-wards but sent his effort over the bar.

Moments later, back at the other end, Ekwah fired an effort goal-wards from the edge of the area, but Przybek remained alert to the danger and made the save, and Mubama's follow-up effort whistled past the post.

Twenty minutes into the contest, some cross into the box from Douglas James-Taylor saw Isaac Hutchinson presented with a chance to open the scoring, but the midfielders' effort from the centre of the box was well blocked by the visiting defences.

Four minutes later, the Saddlers again found themselves in shooting range, but Timmy Abraham's effort on goal was also blocked.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side creating much to test their opposition defences, though thirty-six minutes into the contest, Mubama did see a shot from outside the area sail wide.

The visiting side continued to look the more likely to score as we headed towards the break, with Kamarai Simon-Swyer forcing a save from Przybek in the Walsall goal, five minutes before the break.

There was a brief halt to proceedings as we reached the forty-fifth minute, allowing Freddie Potts to receive treatment for a knock. The midfielder was soon determined to be able to continue, but after one additional minute was played, we reached the break with the scores still tied.

HALF-TIME SCORE
WALSALL 0-0 WEST HAM UNITED U21s

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and play resumed. Walsall began the second-half brightly, with Abraham glancing a headed effort wide just two minutes in.

Fifty-one minutes in, West Ham were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Freddie Potts played short to Ekwah, who in turn looked to play in Mubama, but Przybek was able to get to the ball first to deny him.

With fifty-seven minutes on the clock, West Ham found the breakthrough, as Mubama headed the ball on for Simon-Swyer, who timed his run well and coolly slotted past the Walsall 'keeper to put his side ahead.

The Walsall bench responded by making a trio of changes; Flynn Clarke, Douglas James-Taylor and Timmy Abraham all departing as Tom Knowles, Danny Johnson and Andy Williams took their places.

The changes looked inspired as Williams collected a Bennett cross and fired goal-wards from outside the area, just one minute after his introduction into the game, but his effort was well saved by United shot-stopper, Kristjan Hegyi, and Hutchinson also saw an effort saved by the 'keeper moments later.

In the sixty-sixth minute, Walsall chose to make a fourth change to their line-up, with Jack Earing making way for Liam Kinsella.

With sixty-nine minutes on the clock, Freddie Potts became the first player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for a late challenge on Knowles.

The Saddlers went close to levelling the scores in the seventy-first minute, as Ronan Maher curled the ball into the box from a flag-kick for Manny Monthe, who was unlucky to see his headed effort miss the target.

Walsall went close again seven minutes later, as Maher crossed the ball into the box for Williams, whose left-footed effort from the centre of the box was well saved by Hegyi.

The home side went close again moments later, as Knowles played in Johnson, but his effort on goal was blocked, and five minutes later he saw another effort blocked following a corner kick.

Five minutes from time, the Hammers opted to make their first change of the evening, as George Earthy made way for Remy Coddington.

Both Taylor Allen and Maher went close to levelling the scores as we entered the final two minutes of the game; Allen seeing an effort blocked before Maher fired over.

Four additional minutes were added to end the match, and one minute into those, Isaac Hutchinson became the second player to see yellow, as he received a caution after getting into an argument.

Walsall went close to levelling the scores three minutes into added time, but Johnson was unable to find the target as he connected with an Allen cross, as his headed effort was blocked.

Deep into injury time, West Ham opted to make a double change, with Keenan Appiah-Forson and  Kamarai Simon-Swyer making way for Archie Woods and Patrick Kelly.

With five additional minutes played, Pierre Ekwah was shown the yellow card for time wasting, and just one minute later, Archie Woods was also cautioned, as he entered the referee's notebook for a foul on Maher.

That would be the final action of note though, and the contest ended with the visitors winning by one-goal-to-nil.

FULL-TIME SCORE
WALSALL 0-1 WEST HAM UNITED U21s

SIMON-SWYER (57')
AT POUNDLAND BESCOT STADIUM
ATTENDANCE 1,582 (32 AWAY)
REFEREE SIMON MATHER
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