Match Report: Wrexham 4 Walsall 2 Match Report: Wrexham 4 Walsall 2
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Match Report: Wrexham 4 Walsall 2

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Wrexham.
Walsall were back in action on Tuesday evening as they made the trip to STōK Cae Ras and took on recently-promoted Wrexham in their third outing of the 2023/24 League Two season.

Looking to build upon their recent win over Stockport County, the Saddlers were faced with a side that is also backed by American owners and had been through a busy summer of change ahead of the new campaign.

Wrexham began the game brightly, with former Saddler, Anthony Forde crossing the ball in towards the back post for Elliot Lee, just five minutes into the contest, but Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans was alert to the early danger and tipped the ball over the bar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The hosts won two further corners in the following minutes, but were unable to make either count. They continued to press though, with William Boyle getting on the end of an Eoghan O'Connell pass in the seventh minute, forcing another save from the Walsall 'keeper.

With just eight minutes on the clock, Wrexham found the breakthrough, as a long throw from Ben Tozer picked out O'Connell inside the area, with the defender forcing a save from Evans with a headed effort goal-wards, however, Luke Young collected the ball from the clearance and crossed the ball in towards the back post for Will Boyle, who headed home.

Walsall were finally able to work the ball up to the other end, five minutes later, as Oisin McEntee worked the ball to Freddie Draper, whose shot on goal from outside the box was well saved by Wrexham shot-stopper, Ben Foster.

The visiting side continued to press, with Liam Gordon playing in Isaac Hutchinson as we reached the quarter hour mark, however, nothing would come of the move as the midfielders strike from distance was saved by Foster.

Ollie Palmer became the first player to see yellow, as he was cautioned following a foul on Harry Williams in the sixteenth minute.

Twenty minutes into the contest, Palmer doubled his sides advantage, as a poor clearance was collected by the striker who fired a powerful effort home from distance.

Walsall won a corner in the twenty-fourth minute, as O'Connell turned the ball behind. Draper crossed the ball into the area from the flag-kick, where the ball was collected by Chris Hussey who fired past Foster to reduce the deficit to one.

Wrexham soon had the ball back at the other end, where Lee looked to play in Palmer for a second, but the strikers shot was well blocked.

The visitors could have restored parity in the twenty-seventh minute, as Joe Foulkes crossed the ball into the area for Danny Johnson, but the striker's headed effort sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

The hosts were presented with a chance to restore their earlier two-goal advantage in the thirty-third minute, but Palmer was unable to keep his effort from the edge of the area down, firing over the crossbar.

Oisin McEntee saw his name added to the referee's notebook in the thirty-fifth minute, as he was cautioned following a foul on Jacob Mendy.

The game settled a little as it continued, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball without creating much to test their opposition's defence.

Two additional minutes were 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 Wrexham leading by two-goals-to-one.

HALF-TIME
WREXHAM 2-1 WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the action resumed. Walsall began the second-half brightly, winning a corner in the forty-ninth minute, as Boyle turned behind a promising cross towards the near post from Johnson.

The ball in from the flag-kick was good, falling to Ryan Stirk, who looked to have Foster beaten with his volleyed effort, but unfortunately for the Saddlers, his shot struck the post. Saddlers captain, Donervon Daniels picked up the loose ball, but Foster was alert to the follow-up and made the save.

Joe Foulkes drew the attention of the referee in the fifty-third minute, as a foul on Palmer saw the winger booked.

The hosts began to enjoy a brighter spell as the contest continued, with Forde seeing an effort from outside the area blocked, in the fifty-fourth minute, moments before James Jones saw an strike from distance saved.

Unperturbed, Wrexham continued to press, and were rewarded in the fifty-sixth minute, as a low cross into the box from Mendy, was fired home by Jake Bickerstaff to restore the sides earlier two-goal lead.

Walsall were presented with a chance to reduce the deficit once again, as we reached the hour mark, winning a free-kick in a promising position as Palmer was penalised for a foul on Williams. Hutchinson played the ball in from the set-piece for Daniels, but the captains effort from outside the area, sailed wide of the upright.

The Saddlers continued to seek a route back into the game, with McEntee playing in Hutchinson in the sixty-sixth minute, but the midfielders effort from the edge of the area sailed over the crossbar.

Walsall opted to make their first changes of the evening, in the sixty-eighth minute, with Ryan Stirk, Freddie Draper and Chris Hussey making way for Ross Tierney, Jamille Matt and Aramide Oteh.

Wrexham won a corner twenty minutes from time, as Daniels turned behind an effort from Lee, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

With seventy-two minutes on the clock, Wrexham made their first substitutions of the evening, with Jacob Bickerstaff and Ollie Palmer making way for Billy Waters and Sam Dalby.

The visiting side saw an effort blocked in the seventy-sixth minute, as Hutchinson attempted to get them back into the contest with a strike from outside the area.

The hosts were soon back on the attack though, with the recently introduced, Waters seeing an effort sail wide of the upright, moments before being caught offside as the other Wrexham substitute looked to play him through on goal.

Aramide Oteh became the fourth player to see his name taken by the referee, as he was cautioned following a foul on Forde, in the eighty-third minute.

The Saddlers then opted to make their fourth change of the evening, as Liam Gordon made way for Taylor Allen.

The two Wrexham substitutes combined well in the eighty-fifth minute, to work the ball to Forde, whose cross to the edge of the area was turned home by Lee to definitively put the game to bed.

That would be Elliot Lee's final contribution of the evening, as he was replaced, in the eighty-seventh minute, by Tom O'Connor.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match, and just one minute into them, Walsall pulled a goal back, as Forde was forced into an error which saw him slot the ball into his own net.

The hosts looked to respond quickly, with Young going close at the other end just one minute later, moments after O'Connor had seen an effort blocked.

Walsall created a chance to pull another goal back five minutes into those added, as Tierney played the ball to Hutchinson, but the midfielder was unable to beat Foster, who did well to deny him with his feet.

That would be the final action of note, and the contest was brought to it's conclusion with Wrexham winning by four-goals-to-two. Disappointment for the travelling Saddlers, who had hoped to build upon their first win of the campaign.

FULL-TIME
WREXHAM 4-2 WALSALL
BOYLE (8')
PALMER (20')
BICKERSTAFF (56')
LEE (85')
HUSSEY (24')
FORDE [OG] (90+1')


AT STōK CAE RAS
REFEREE SIMON MATHER
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