Match Report: Walsall 2 Salford City 3 Match Report: Walsall 2 Salford City 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 2 Salford City 3

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Salford City.
Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they played host to Salford City in what was their penultimate home game of the 2022/23 Sky Bet League Two campaign.

Arriving at the match in the wake of the sacking of Head Coach Michael Flynn, confidence was bound to be low, especially as 2023 had seen the team pick up just two league wins in what has been a spectacular fall from grace.

Led by Interim Head Coach Mat Sadler, the Saddlers were looking for their first tin in eight league games, and, possibly more importantly, an improved performance following weeks of drab displays.

Salford began the game brightly, winning a corner just five minutes into the contest, as Liam Gordon turned the ball out of play. Liam Shephard swung the ball into the area from the flag-kick, with Callum Hendry getting a head to it to turn it home and gift his side an early lead.

The visiting side could have doubled their advantage in the eighth minute, as Luke Bolton crossed the ball into the box, with Matt Smith inches away from turning it home, moments before Shephard saw an effort from outside the box sail over the crossbar.

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

Hendry looked to double his tally for the afternoon in the seventeenth minute, as he picked up the ball outside the area and fired a shot goal-wards, but his effort was blocked by a well placed defender.

The visitors continued to enjoy a good spell though, with Stephen Mallan going close moments later, after some good work from Bolton to work the ball to him, but his well-struck effort sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the eighteenth minute, allowing Tom Knowles to receive attention from the medical team, but he was soon back on his feet and play resumed.

Walsall created their first chance of note in the twenty-second minute, as Gordon crossed the ball into the box for Joe Riley, whose headed effort from the centre of the area was well gathered by City 'keeper, Alex Cairns.

There was another short pause in play in the twenty-fifth minute, allowing Cairns to receive treatment for an injury, but it was quickly determined he would be fine to continue.

The game settled again as it continued, with both sides seeing plenty of the ball, but struggling to create anything to trouble either goalkeeper.

Five minutes before the break, Oisin McEntee became the first player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for a foul on Mallan, with the match paused temporarily to allow the Salford man to receive treatment.

Salford looked to double their advantage as the game restarted, with Smith playing in Hendry in the forty-third minute, though the strikers effort was well blocked.

The visitors continued to press, with Hendry looking to turn provider, crossing the ball in for Smith, whose headed effort from the centre of the box sailed wide of the upright.

Four additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time, the visitors won a couple of corners, neither of which would ultimately come to anything, and the referee brought an end to the first period with Salford leading by a-goal-to-nil at the break.

HALF-TIME
WALSALL 0-1 SALFORD CITY

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and the action resumed. There was little real action of note, until, in the fifty-third minute, Salford were reduced to ten men, as Louie Barry was ejected from the game after pushing Low, who had previously fouled him.

Joe Low and Manny Monthe were also given yellow cards for getting involved in the argument which followed.

The Saddlers almost restored parity, as they looked to make their man advantage pay, with Gordon feeding the ball through to Isaac Hutchinson who did well to work space to shoot, but was unable to beat the Salford 'keeper.

Walsall had more luck in the sixty-second minute, as Gordon crossed the ball into the box, where Jamille Matt was waiting to head home his second goal of the season and level the scores.

Salford had soon worked the ball up to the other end, as they looked to restore their earlier lead, but Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans was on hand to deny Hendry a second goal, in the sixty-seventh minute.

With seventy-four minutes on the clock, Salford opted to make their first change of the game, with Liam Shephard making way for Conor McAleny.

Just two minutes later, Walsall followed suit, replacing Jacob Maddox with Douglas James-Taylor.

The visiting side continued to seek to restore their earlier advantage, with Hendry playing in Ward, ten minutes from time, but fortunately for the Saddlers, the midfielders effort from outside the area, sailed wide of the target.

Stephen Mallan joined those whose names had already been taken by the referee, as he was shown the yellow card following a foul on Tom Knowles.

Both sides chose to introduce their second substitutes of the game, in the eighty-third minute, as Salford's Elliot Watt made way for Matthew Lund and Walsall's Jamille Matt was replaced by Conor Wilkinson.

Salford continued to ask questions of the Walsall defences, with the recently introduced Lund playing in Smith in the eighty-fourth minute, though the strikers effort sailed well wide of the target.

Walsall soon had the ball up at the other end, where Gordon looked to play in James-Taylor, but the substitutes headed effort was blocked by a well positioned defender.

City were quick on the break, and restored their slender one-goal lead in the eighty-eighth minute, as Bolton slipped in McAleny who fired past Evans.

Seven additional minutes were added to end the game, and just one minute into them, Salford chose to make their third and final change of the game, with Callum Hendry making way for Ethan Galbraith.

Walsall also took the opportunity to make their final change of the afternoon, as Oisin McEntee made way for Liam Kinsella.

The home side looked to have secured a point from the contest, as substitutes, James-Taylor and Wilkinson combined to level the scores, with the latter firing the ball into the bottom corner from outside the box.

However, moments before the referee brought an end to the action, another substitute secured all three points for the visitors, as Lund picked the ball up outside the area and fired a deflected shot into the top corner.

That would be the final action of note, and the final whistle sounded with Salford securing all three points, winning by three-goals-to-two.

A disappointing afternoon for the Saddlers who looked to have at least taken a point from the game with their late goal.

FULL-TIME
WALSALL 2-3 SALFORD CITY
MATT (62')
WILKINSON (90+5')

HENDRY (6')
McALENY (88')
LUND (90+7')
AT POUNDLAND BESCOT STADIUM
REFEREE ANDREW KITCHEN
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