Match Report: Walsall 2 Stockport County 1 Match Report: Walsall 2 Stockport County 1

Match Report: Walsall 2 Stockport County 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Stockport County.
Walsall went into the game in search of their first win of the season after suffering an opening-day defeat to Morecambe before following that up with a Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Blackburn Rovers.

Stockport began the match brightly, and thought they had opened the scoring just two minutes into the contest, as Louie Barry picked out the bottom corner, but the linesman had raised his flag after spotting an infringement of the offside rules and the goal was chalked off.

The visiting side continued to press, with Antoni Sarcevic crossing the ball in towards the back post in the third minute, but the waiting Macauley Southam-Hales played the ball back across goal, allowing Harry Williams to clear the danger.

Unperturbed, County continued to seek an early goal, with Southam-Hales seeing a cross headed away in the sixth minute, though Williams' clearance fell kindly for Paddy Madden, whose deflected effort was denied by Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans.

Cody Johnson became the first player to be shown the yellow card, as seven minutes in he was cautioned for a foul on Oisin McEntee.

Walsall struggled to make a mark on the contest, as their visitors continued to dominate in the early goings, with County winning a corner in the twelfth minute, as Isaac Hutchinson turned the ball out of play. Fortunately for the Saddlers, Stockport were unable to make the set-piece pay.

Stockport almost found the breakthrough in the seventeenth minute, as Ibou Touray fired goal-wards, but Evans was alert to the danger and made the save at the near post to deny him, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The County bench felt their side should have been awarded a penalty in the nineteenth minute, as Nick Powell went down inside the area under a challenge from Evans, but the referee was unmoved by the appeals for a spot-kick and play continued.

Stockport were a little unlucky not to take the lead in the twenty-third minute, as Madden saw an effort at the near post deflected behind for a corner, which was played towards the back post by Touray where Madden was waiting, but again his shot was blocked, and Sarcevic also saw an effort from outside the box blocked moments later.

Walsall's first real foray forwards saw the side open the scoring, in the twenty-fourth minute, as Freddie Draper played the ball into the path of Danny Johnson, who coolly slotted the ball past Stockport 'keeper, Ben Hinchcliffe from the centre of the box.

The goal settled things a little, but thirty-two minutes in, the Saddlers could have doubled their advantage, as Hutchinson ran through on goal, but a poor touch allowed Hinchcliffe chance to get a touch on the ball, with the ball falling to Johnson, whose effort on goal sailed wide of the upright.

The hosts continued to enjoy a bright spell, winning a corner in the thirty-seventh minute, as Southam-Hales turned the ball behind. Hutchinson delivered the ball to the back post from the flag-kick, where McEntee was waiting to head home, but his effort sailed narrowly wide.

Ryan Stirk became the second player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for a foul on Madden in the forty-second minute.

Five additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time Stockport were presented with a chance to level the scores, but after finding his way through the Walsall defences, Barry failed to find the target, sending his effort sailing over the crossbar. That would be the final action of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Walsall leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HALF-TIME
WALSALL 1-0 STOCKPORT

Stockport opted to make a change to their line-up as the teams returned, with Antoni Sarcevic sitting out the second-half, as Will Collar took his place. Collar looked to make an immediate impact on the game, as Barry and Madden combined to work the ball to him just two minutes after his introduction, but his effort trickled wide.

Freddie Draper became the third player to see yellow, as he was cautioned following a foul in the forty-ninth minute.

Stockport almost levelled the scores in the fifty-seventh minute, as a volley from Kyle Knoyle was flicked across the face of goal for Powell, but Evans was alert to the danger and got enough on the ball to turn it behind, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The visiting side went close again as we reached the hour mark, with Madden playing in Powell, but the midfielders curling effort sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

Walsall opted to make their first changes of the game in the sixty-first minute, with Danny Johnson and Harry Williams making way for Jamille Matt and Aramide Oteh.

The referee brandished the yellow card for a fourth time, in the sixty-third minutes, as Isaac Hutchinson drew a caution after getting involved in an argument.

Fraser Horsfall followed Hutchinson into the book, as he was cautioned for a foul on Isaac, in the sixty-seventh minute.

Just three minutes later, the referee again called upon his trusty yellow card, as he added Louie Barry to his notebook after the player kicked the ball away.

Stockport thought they had found an equalising goal in the seventy-fourth minute, as Knoyle floated the ball in towards the back post, before Powell played it on to Madden, but the ball had crossed the line before it was pulled back for Madden, so his goal would not stand.

Macauley Southam-Hales became the fourth County player to see yellow, as he was cautioned following a foul on Liam Gordon in the seventy-fifth minute.

That would be Macauley Southam-Hales' final action of note for the afternoon, as he was replaced by Isaac Olaofe in the seventy-ninth minute.

Walsall doubled their advantage mere moments after the change was completed, as McEntee crossed the ball to Oteh, who fired a low effort past Hinchcliffe, into the bottom corner from close range.

Stockport picked up their fifth caution of the afternoon in the eighty-second minute, as the recently introduced Isaac Olaofe was shown the yellow card following a foul on Matt.

County won a corner in the eighty-fourth minute, as they looked to pull a late goal back. The ball was played in by Cody Johnson, but Barry's effort from outside the area sailed high and wide of the target.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the eighty-sixth minute, allowing Stirk to receive treatment. County took the opportunity to make a change to their line-up, with Nick Powell making way for Ryan Rydel. It was soon determined that Ryan Stirk would be unable to continue, and Joe Riley was introduced in his place.

Riley got involved in the action immediately, blocking a shot from Madden in the eighty-ninth minute, which lead to a corner kick, which lead to a second flag-kick as Chris Hussey put the ball out play, from which Ethan Pye crossed the ball in for Madden, whose effort on goal sailed over the crossbar.

Ten additional minutes were added to end the match. Both sides won corners early into the ten added minutes, but neither were able to capitalise. The visiting side did go close to pulling a goal back in the ninety-fifth minute though, as the ball fell to Olaofe eight yards from goal, but the strikers effort sailed high over the crossbar.

County had more luck two minutes later, as Madden crossed the ball onto the head of Rydel, at the back post, with the midfielder nodding home to reduce his side's deficit.

Madden continued to cause the Walsall defences problems, as he looked to level the scores nine minutes into added time, with an effort from outside the box, but his shot sailed harmlessly high and wide of the target.

That would be the final action of note, and the referee brought an end to the contest, with Walsall winning by two-goals-to-one. A great result for the Saddlers, who struggled to get into the game in the early goings, but took their chances well once presented with opportunities to do so.

FULL-TIME
WALSALL 2-1 STOCKPORT
JOHNSON (24')
OTEH (79')
RYDEL (90+7')

AT POUNDLAND BESCOT STADIUM
REFEREE JACOB MILES
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