Match Report: Walsall 0 Milton Keynes Dons 2 Match Report: Walsall 0 Milton Keynes Dons 2
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 0 Milton Keynes Dons 2

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' Papa John's Trophy - Southern Group C clash with Milton Keynes Dons.
The Saddlers returned to action on Tuesday evening as they played host to MK Dons in their third and final group outing of this season's EFL Trophy.

After losing both of their other group games, to West Ham United U21s and Cheltenham Town respectively, the Reds were in need of both a win and a favourable result in the other group game if they were to reach the next round.

MK Dons began the match brightly, with Dawson Devoy playing in Darragh Burns inside the opening minute, but the midfielders effort from outside the box sailed over the crossbar.

Walsall had soon worked the ball up to the other end, as Isaac Hutchinson and Liam Bennett combined to create the Saddlers first chance of the game, though the latter's shot from distance was blocked.

The hosts continued to press, with Danny Cashman setting up Hutchinson, nine minutes into the contest, but the midfielder was unable to beat Dons 'keeper, Franco Ravizzoli, who did well to deny the low effort.

The visiting side began to enjoy a brighter spell as the game continued, with Henry Lawrence cutting inside in the twelfth minute, before firing in an effort which sailed inches over the crossbar.

MK Dons went on to win a free-kick in a dangerous position just one minute later, as Bennett fouled Burns on the edge of the area. Devoy tested Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans, with the set-piece, but the man between the sticks was not found wanting as he gathered the curling effort.

Walsall should have opened the scoring in the nineteenth minute, winning a corner, which was swung into the area by Liam Gordon, for Andy Williams, whose headed effort sailed over the crossbar, when he really should have nodded home.

The game settled a little as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, without creating much to test their opposition defences, though twenty-eight minutes in, the Saddlers won a corner as Jack Tucker turned the ball behind to prevent anyone getting a touch on a teasing cross from Bennett. Nothing would come of the flag-kick though Brandon Comley's cross was headed back across the face of goal by Cashman before Ravizzoli denied Gordon.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a good spell, with Bennett seeing an effort from distance sail narrowly over the crossbar in the thirty-fourth minute.

There was little further action of note, though MK Dons did win a late corner, which came to nothing, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.


The teams returned unchanged following the break, and just three minutes after the restart, Comley played in Jacob Maddox, who saw an effort from the left side of the box blocked.

The Saddlers continued to press, winning a corner in the fifty-third minute, which came to nothing as Tucker blocked Hutchinson's effort on goal.

Unperturbed, the hosts continued to press, winning another corner in the fifty-fifth minute, as Matthew Smith headed a Bennett cross out of play, but nothing would come of that set-piece either and the scores remained level as MK Dons opted to make their first three changes of the evening. Darragh Burns, Conor Grant and Matthew Dennis made way for Louie Barry, Nathan Holland and Joshua Kayode.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, MK Dons found the breakthrough, as Warren O'Hora played in Chelsea loanee, Lawrence, who cut inside from the left and fired a low, powerful effort past Evans from outside the area.

Jacob Maddox became the first player to be shown the yellow card, as he was cautioned for a foul on Holland, in the sixty-sixth minute.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, but Cashman was unable to find the target as Ravizzoli made the save.

In the seventy-third minute, Walsall chose to make four changes to their line-up, with Andy Williams, Douglas James-Taylor, Liam Gordon and Danny Cashman making way for Danny Johnson, Timmy Abraham, Taylor Allen and Ronan Maher taking their places.

Abraham was quick to get involved in the action, as he headed narrowly wide following a corner, just two minutes after his introduction into the game.

Allen then found himself in shooting range five minutes later, but his curling effort from the right of the box sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

MK Dons should have made it two, in the eighty-third minute, as former Saddler,  Zak Jules played in Lawrence, whose right-footed effort from inside the area had just a little too much height on it as it landed on the roof of the net.

Brandon Comley became the second player to be shown the yellow card, as he picked up a caution for a foul on Kayode, in the eighty-fourth minute.

Just one minute later, Liam Bennett also saw his name added to the referee's notebook, as he saw yellow for a foul on Barry.

The visitors continued to press late into the game, as they looked to put the game to bed, with Jules playing in Holland in the eighty-eighth minute, but the forwards effort from outside the area sailed high and wide of the target.

Five additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, Maher saw an effort blocked, before Taylor Allen became the fourth Saddler to see yellow, as he received a caution for a foul on Holland.

MK Dons put the game to bed, three minutes into injury time, as Holland converted the resulting free-kick, with an effort which found the bottom corner.

That would be the final action of note, and MK Dons progressed in the competition, winning by two-goals-to-nil, as Walsall crashed out.


HOLLAND (90+3')
ATTENDANCE 1,070 (57)
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