Match Report: Walsall 1 Sutton United 1 Match Report: Walsall 1 Sutton United 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 1 Sutton United 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Sutton United.
Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they welcomed Sutton United to the Black Country, with Michael Flynn's Saddlers looking to earn just their third win of 2023 and keep theor already slim hopes of securing a place in the Play-Off's alive.

Sutton began the game brightly, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position just one minute into the contest, as Omar Bugiel was fouled by Donervon Daniels, but Will Randall's ball into the box avoided everyone and the ball went out of play without causing too much concern for the Walsall defences.

Both sides took time to settle into the game as it continued, but six minutes in, some good play from Matty Stevens allowed Liam Kinsella space to cross the ball into the box for Daniels, whose headed effort was well saved by United shot-stopper, Jack Rose.

The home side continued to press, winning the first corner of the match in the eighth minute, as Randall turned the ball out of play, but Joe Riley's ball in was met by a Sutton man and the danger cleared.

Two minutes later, the visiting side won a corner at the other end, as Manny Monthe put the ball behind, but nothing would come of that as the Saddlers defences were able to scramble the ball clear.

Thirteen minutes in, United created their first real chance of the game, as Sam Hart crossed the ball to David Ajiboye, who drove into the box and fired a low effort goal-wards, forcing a good save from Walsall 'keeper, Owen Evans. The resulting corner came to nothing, as the ball in was turned back out of play by Isaac Hutchinson, with the follow-up corner being cleared.

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 went close to opening the scoring in the twenty-first minute, as Tom Knowles played in Conor Wilkinson, but the strikers' effort from close range was well saved by the feet of former Saddler, Rose.

The Saddlers continued to press, with Daniels beating two men to get a shot away, but his powerful strike was blocked by a well-positioned defender.

The visitors were quick to work the ball up to the other end, where Craig Eastmond forced a superb one-handed save from Evans to keep the scores level.

Twenty-seven minutes into the contest, Omar Bugiel became the first player to draw the attention of the referee, picking up a caution for a foul on Kinsella.

The hosts won a corner in the twenty-eighth minute, as Hart turned the ball out of play. Riley swung a promising ball in, which was met by the head of Joe Low, but Rose was well-placed to make the save.

Three minutes later, United won a corner at the other end, as Riley turned the ball behind. Randall crossed the ball in, and after a bit of a scramble, Alistair Smith got a foot to the ball and prodded it home from close range to give his side the lead.

The visiting side almost doubled their advantage in the thirty-sixth minute, as another corner was swung in by Randall towards the edge of the box, with Craig Eastmond meeting it, but the midfielders shot was well blocked by Monthe, and the corner which resulted came to nothing.

The hosts won a free-kick in a dangerous position, in the thirty-ninth minute, as Stevens was fouled by Joe Kizzi. Wilkinson crossed the ball into the area, for Hutchinson, but the midfielders' effort sailed high and wide of the target.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, but neither side were able to create anything further of note, and the teams headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Sutton leading by one-goal-to-nil.


Walsall opted to make two changes to their line-up, as the teams returned, with Oisin McEntee and Matty Stevens sitting out the second-half, as Liam Gordon and Jamille Matt took their places.

The second-half got off to a slow start, with both sides winning corners early on, that they were unable to make use of, with little other action of note.

Ten minutes into the second-half, Sutton created a chance to double their lead, as Hart crossed the ball to Smith, who fired goal-wards from just outside the box, but the scorer of the games only goal to date, was unable to repeat his earlier feat, sending the wide of the upright.

As we reached the hour mark, Walsall opted to make two further changes to their line-up, with Joe Riley and Conor Wilkinson making way for Jacob Maddox and Andy Williams.

The Saddlers looked to restore parity as the game continued, with Hutchinson taking aim in the sixty-third minute, but his low strike from distance was easily saved by Rose.

United had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where they won a corner as Knowles turned the ball out of play, but nothing would come of the flag-kick as the Walsall defences stood firm.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side creating much to trouble their opposition defences.

As we reached the seventieth minute, Sutton opted to make their first changes of the afternoon, with Omar Bugiel and Donovan Wilson making way for Kylian Kouassi and Lee Angol.

Six minutes later, it became apparent that Donervon Daniels, who had picked up a knock, would be unable to continue, and Walsall were forced to make their fifth and final substitution of the game, with Joss Labadie taking his place.

Just two minutes after joining the fray, Joss Labadie found his name being added to the referee's notebook, as he was cautioned following a foul on Smith.

The resulting free-kick came to nothing, but Sutton went on to win another, in a more promising position, just two minutes later, as Monthe fouled Angol. Ajiboye played the set-piece goal-wards, but his effort was blocked by Williams, with the corner that resulted coming to nothing.

United chose to make their third change of the afternoon, in the eighty-fourth minute, as David Ajiboye was replaced by Harry Beautyman.

The Saddlers almost levelled the scores, five minutes from time, as Matt headed the ball into the path of Labadie, but the midfielders effort from the centre of the box sailed inches wide of the upright.

With eighty-nine minutes on the clock, Jamille Matt became the third player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for a foul on Hart.

Five additional minutes were added to end the game. There was little further action of note, until, in the final of the minutes added, Joe Kizzi picked gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position as he looked to stop Hutchinson launching an attack, with the defender also receiving a yellow card for the offence.

Knowles swung the set-piece goal-wards, with Rose able to get to it, but the goalkeeper was unable to hold the shot, spilling the ball at the feet of Hutchinson, who bundled the ball home to level the scores.

That would be the final action of note, and the game ended with the teams each taking one point from the contest.

HUTCHINSON (90+5') SMITH (31')
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