Match Report: Walsall 2 Gillingham 0 Match Report: Walsall 2 Gillingham 0

Match Report: Walsall 2 Gillingham 0

Here is our match Report from the Saddlers' League Two clash with Gillingham.
Michael Flynn's men were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they welcomed Gillingham to Poundland Bescot Stadium for their latest League Two outing of the season.

Looking to halt a run of twelve league games without a win, the Saddlers were faced with a side that had itself gone through something of a slump, though attention was now focussed on making a late break for the top half following American businessman Brad Galinson's takeover of the club late last year.

Walsall began the match brightly, with Liam Kinsella crossing the ball in for Isaac Hutchinson inside the first minute, with Gillingham shot-stopper, Glenn Morris being forced to tip the headed effort over the crossbar. The resulting corner came to nothing as the visiting defences cleared the danger.

Gillingham soon had the ball at the other end, where they won a corner themselves, as Oisin McEntee turned the ball out of play, but a foul as the ball was played in ensured that the Saddlers would regain possession and the flag-kick come to nothing.

Brandon Comley found himself with space to shoot in the sixth minute, but his well struck effort from twenty-five yards out was well gathered by Morris.

The hosts continued to press, winning a corner in the seventh minute, as Conor Masterson put the ball out of play, but nothing would come of the flag-kick, as Joe Riley's ball in was turned away.

Riley created another chance on goal in the ninth minute, but after cutting inside, he saw his effort on goal sail well over the crossbar.

The visitors went close at the other end, moments later, as George Lapslie crossed the ball in for Tom Nichols, but the strikers shot failed to trouble Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans as it sailed high and wide of the target.

As we reached the quarter hour mark, Walsall were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, as Masterson fouled Jacob Maddox. Riley played the set-piece goal-wards, but Morris was alert to the danger and punched the effort clear.

Gillingham began to enjoy a brighter spell as the game continued, with Aiden O'Brien seeing an effort blocked in the eighteenth minute, before Nichols headed over a Cheye Alexander cross four minutes later.

The game settled a little as it continued, but thirty-one minutes into the contest, Aiden O'Brien became the first player to draw the attentions of the referee, as he was cautioned for a foul on Maddox.

Gillingham should have opened the scoring ten minutes before half-time, but Nichols was unable to get a touch on Timothée Dieng's ball in to turn it home and the effort sailed narrowly wide.

Walsall went close themselves just four minutes later, as Hutchinson played in Andy Williams, whose powerful strike was turned behind by Morris, with the resulting corner coming to nothing as the visitors cleared the danger.

The Gills won a corner at the other end, in the forty-second minute, as a low cross from Alexander was deflected out of play by Hutchinson. Shaun Williams swung the ball in, but Walsall were eventually able to clear the danger.

One additional minute was 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 still tied.


The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the action got back underway. Just five minutes after the restart, Walsall took the lead, as Tom Knowles passed to Hutchinson, who drove forwards and fired home from outside the area, with a little help from a deflection.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the fifty-second minute, whilst Jacob Maddox received treatment, but it was soon determined he would be unable to continue, and Joe Low was brought on in his place.

With fifty-eight minutes on the clock, Gillingham made their first change of the afternoon, as George Lapslie was replaced by Alex MacDonald.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, but sixty-four minutes into the contest, Gillingham could have equalised, as O'Brien saw an effort on goal blocked, before the ball came back to him, allowing him a second shot, which was deflected behind, but nothing would come of the resulting corner, as MacDonald's cross was turned wide by Dieng.

Another Gills corner followed in the sixty-ninth minute, as a Williams strike was turned behind, but nothing would come of that either, as Evans positioned himself well and claimed.

The Saddlers created a chance to double their advantage just two minutes later, as Knowles did well to cut the ball back for Hutchinson, but the midfielders first time effort was well saved by Morris.

With seventy-four minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make their second change of the afternoon, as Andy Williams made for Conor Wilkinson. Gillingham also took the opportunity to change their line-up, as David Tutonda and Timothée Dieng were replaced by Robbie McKenzie and Dom Jefferies.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball, without creating anything to test their opposition defences.

Walsall chose to make their final changes of the afternoon in the eighty-first minute, as Joe Riley and Tom Knowles were replaced by Yann Songo'o and Matty Stevens.

The game settled again, but four minutes from time, the visitors won a free-kick in a dangerous position, but the ball in found Shaun Williams who headed it straight into Evans' waiting arms.

Gillingham went close again two minutes later, as Masterson played the ball into the path of Jefferies, but the midfielders effort from twenty yards out sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match. One minute into them, the visiting side opted to make their final change of the afternoon, with Cheye Alexander making way for Tristan Abrahams.

Isaac Hutchinson became the second player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for a foul on MacDonald two minutes into stoppage time.

Walsall almost put the game to bed moments later, as a Stevens shot took a deflection on it's way through, but the effort sailed inches wide of the upright and the scores remained unchanged.

The Gills almost restored parity four minutes into those added, as a long throw was cleared only as far as Jeffries, who fired goal-wards from twenty yards out, but couldn't find the target as his effort sailed narrowly over the crossbar.

With ninety-five minutes showing on the clock, Brandon Comley became the third player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for time wasting.

Walsall finally put the game to bed in the sixth minute of those added, as Stevens played the ball in for Wilkinson, who picked out the top corner to double his sides advantage with his first goal since he returned to fitness.

That would be the final action of note, and the game was brought to it's conclusion with Walsall winning by two-goals-to-nil.


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