Match Report: Morecambe 2 Walsall 1 Match Report: Morecambe 2 Walsall 1

Match Report: Morecambe 2 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' season-opener against Morecambe.
Walsall opened their 2023/24 League Two campaign with an away trip to Morecambe, with the Saddlers looking to replicate their 4-0 triumph over Hartlepool United which they achieved at the start of last season. 

The match got off to something of a slow start, as both teams took a little time to settle into the contest, but eight minutes in, Morecambe won the first corner of the game, as Donervon Daniels turned the ball out of play. The ball into the area from the flag-kick looked good, but Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans got a fist to the ball to clear the danger.

Walsall went on to win a corner at the other end three minutes later, as Joel Senior turned the ball behind, but nothing would come of the flag-kick. However, the Saddlers continued to press, with Chris Hussey picking out Aramide Oteh with a cross into the box, in the twelfth minute, but the strikers headed effort sailed over the crossbar.

Morecambe had soon worked the ball back to the other end, where Harry Williams, making his league debut, conceded a corner to the hosts, who were unable to make the chance count. The Shrimps continued to enjoy a good spell though, with Tom Bloxham forcing a save from Evans in the nineteenth minute.

The hosts took the lead in the twenty-fifth minute, as some good teamwork lead to Eli King feeding the ball to Adam Mayor, who fired past Evans from the centre of the box.

The game settled again after the goal, with little action of note, though thirty-four minutes into the contest, Donald Love was shown the yellow card, as he was cautioned for time wasting.

Joe Riley joined Love in the referee's notebook just three minutes later, as he too was shown the yellow card for time wasting.

With thirty-eight minutes on the clock, Danny Johnson levelled the scores, as he got on the end of a Ryan Stirk cross and fired home from outside the box.

Former Walsall loanee, Yann Songo'o, became the third player to see yellow, as the referee cautioned him for a foul in the build-up to the goal.

Six additional minutes were added to end the first-half, as the hosts looked to retake the lead, with King crossing the ball in for Michael Mellon, whose effort on goal sailed over the bar.

With just one of the six additional minutes played, Oisin McEntee became the fourth player to receive a caution, as he was shown the yellow card for arguing with the referee.

Walsall were presented with a chance to take a lead into the break, two minutes into those added, as poor clearance from King afforded Daniels chance to shoot from the back post, but the skippers effort sailed across the face of goal from a tight angle.

There was little further action of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores tied at one-goal-apiece.

HALF-TIME
MORECAMBE 1-1 WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the second-half underway. Just three minutes after the restart, John Joshua Mckiernan became the fifth player to be shown the yellow card, as he was booked for time wasting.

Walsall enjoyed a good start to the second-half, with Isaac Hutchinson seeing an effort blocked in the fifty-first minute, before Liam Gordon fired over two minutes later after Stirk and Hussey combined well to set him up.

The visiting side continued to press, with Riley seeing a long range effort sail and high and wide of the target, in the fifty-fifth minute.

There was a brief halt to proceedings as we reached the hour mark, allowing King to receive treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and play resumed.

Morecambe won a corner in the sixty-fourth minute, as Hussey turned the ball out of play, but they were unable to make the set-piece count.

Walsall opted to make their first change of the afternoon in the sixty-seventh minute, with Aramide Oteh making way for Douglas James-Taylor.

James-Taylor looked to make an immediate impact upon the game, as he headed a Riley cross goal-wards, just one minute after his introduction, but his effort had a little too much height on it and the ball sailed over the crossbar.

Morecambe manager, Derek Adams was shown the yellow card in the seventy-second minute, as he was cautioned for arguing with the match officials.

The game settled a little again as it continued, although Andy Williams did manage to work the ball to Johnson, with the help of a deflection, in the seventy-seventh minute, with the striker going close but finding himself unable to beat the upright on this occasion, as the ball collided with the post before Shrimps 'keeper, Stuart Moore gathered.

Up at the other end, three minutes later, Mellon found himself in possession inside the area, but his effort on goal was easily saved by the Walsall shot-stopper.

With eighty-six minutes on the clock, Isaac Hutchinson became the sixth player to see yellow, as he was cautioned following a foul on Mayor.

Eight additional minutes were added to end the match. Two minutes into those, Morecambe opted to make their first, and last changes of the afternoon, with Michael Mellon, JJ McKiernan and Tom Bloxham making way for Cammy Smith, Jacob Davenport and Jordan Slew.

Moments after the changes were completed, Farrend Rawson doubled Moecambe's tally for the afternoon, as he headed home from close range.

A yellow card followed for Farrend Rawson, as he was cautioned for excessive celebration of the goal.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly to falling behind, with Hussey playing in Hutchinson, four minutes into the eight added, but the midfielders headed effort sailed wide of the target.

With ninety-five minutes on the clock, Danny Johnson and Jacob Bedeau were both added to the referee's notebook, as the pair were cautioned after getting into an argument.

The Saddlers then opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Ryan Stirk making way for Jamille Matt, however, Matt could not make the desired impact on the game, as just five minutes after his introduction, the full-time whistle sounded and the game ended with Morecambe winning by two-goals-to-one.

A disappointing opening day result for the Saddlers, who had looked the more likely of the two sides to secure that all important second goal throughout much of the second-half.

FULL-TIME
MORECAMBE 2-1 WALSALL
MAYOR (25')
RAWSON (90+2')
JOHNSON (38')

AT MAZUMA STADIUM
REFEREE MARTIN COY (DURHAM)
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