Match Report: Salford City 1 Walsall 2 Match Report: Salford City 1 Walsall 2

Match Report: Salford City 1 Walsall 2

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Salford City.
Walsall went into the match on the back of last weekend's welcome win over Colchester United and in search of a few more points to add to their bid to move away from the dropzone and towards the relative safety of mid table.

Salford began the game brightly, with Ethan Ingram working the ball to Conor McAleny, who fired a first effort goal-wards just four minutes in to the contest, but fortunately for Walsall, his shot lacked power and goalkeeper, Owen Evans was able to gather.

The hosts continued to enjoy a bright spell, winning a corner in the sixth minute, as Walsall captain, Donervon Daniels was forced to turn the ball out of play, though nothing would come of the flag-kick.

Another Salford corner followed moments later, as the ball was turned behind by David Okagbue, but again, the hosts were unable to make the opportunity count, as Stevie Mallan fired wide.

The home side went close in the tenth minute, as Matt Smith fired goal-wards from a tight angle forcing Evans to make a save, before Mallen picked up the loose ball and saw an effort deflected wide by Freddie Draper, with Smith then heading the resulting corner wide.

Yet another City corner followed as we reached the quarter hour mark, as Daniels put the ball out of play. The flag-kick was taken short, but the ball was eventually played in towards the back post by Luke Bolton where Smith was waiting to turn the ball home, putting his side a goal to the good.

The match was paused momentarily in the twenty-seventh minute, allowing players to take on some fluids, but the action was soon back underway, with Salford continuing to see much of the ball as Walsall struggled to gain a foothold in the contest.

City won another corner in the thirty-third minute, as Bolton crossed the ball onto the head of McAleny, forcing Joe Foulkes to turn the ball out of play. Fortunately for the Saddlers, the hosts were unable to make use of the flag-kick.

Walsall created their first real chance of the match, thirty-six minutes into the contest, as they were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position following a foul by Ethan Ingram on Draper. Isaac Hutchinson stepped forth to take the set-piece, but his effort had too much on it and the ball sailed over the crossbar.

The hosts were quick to work the ball back to the other end, where Ossama Ashley played in Ingram, whose strike at goal from outside the box sailed wide of the target.

Walsall soon found themselves with another chance to level the scores, as the ball fell to Hutchinson, who did well to work himself into space to shoot, but his curling effort was easily saved by City shot-stopper, Alex Cairns.

The hosts won yet another corner in the fortieth minute, as Daniels put the ball behind, which was swiftly followed by a second as Jamille Matt cleared the danger. Nothing would come of either, as a Curtis Tilt headed effort from the second was cleared off the line by Oisin McEntee, allowing Walsall to break, with the visiting side eventually winning a corner of their own as a Taylor Allen cross was deflected out of play by Declan John, though nothing would come of their flag-kick either.

Four additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time, Evans was forced to make a save to deny Mallan, with the resulting corner eventually being cleared by Matt.

That would be the final action of note before the break, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Salford leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HALF-TIME
SALFORD CITY 1-0 WALSALL

Walsall opted to make a double change after the break, with David Okagbue and Jamille Matt sitting out the second-half, as Ross Tierney and Aramide Oteh took their places.

Both sides enjoyed spells on the ball early in the second-half, with the teams taking a little time to settle back into the contest.

Stevie Mallan became the first player to be shown the yellow card, as he was cautioned following a fifty-sixth minute foul on Oteh.

With fifty-nine minutes on the clock, Walsall levelled the scores, as they won a free-kick, which Ryan Stirk took quickly, releasing McEntee, who crossed the ball onto the head of Draper, who nodded past Cairns.

The visiting side felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the sixty-first minute, as Draper was felled inside the area by Theo Vassell, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the sixty-third minute, allowing Declan John to receive attention from the medical team, but it was soon determined he would be unable to continue and Kevin Berkoe took his place. City also used the opportunity to introduce more fresh legs, as Conor McAleny was replaced by Ryan Watson.

Another pause in proceedings followed in the seventy-first minute, as the players and officials took a drinks break, and play soon resumed.

Walsall almost took the lead fifteen minutes from time, as Tierney and Hutchinson combined, with the latter firing narrowly over from outside the box.

Ossama Ashley and Ryan Stirk both saw their names added to the referee's notebook, in the seventy-fifth minute, as they were cautioned for dissent.

With seventy-seven minutes on the clock, Walsall took the lead, as a Draper effort was parried by Cairns, with the rebound being fired home by McEntee.

The hosts won a free-kick in a dangerous position moments after conceding, which Mallan fired goal-wards, but Evans was well positioned to gather and the visitors broke with the ball, culminating in Draper drawing a save from Cairns.

With eighty-four minutes on the clock, Salford chose to make another change to their line-up, with Ossama Ashley making way for Marcus Dackers.

Walsall were forced to follow suit moments later, as it was determined that Donervon Daniels would be unable to continue, having gone down twice in recent moments requiring attention, with Harry Williams brought on in his place.

The hosts almost restored parity in the eighty-sixth minute, as Ingram crossed the ball in for the recently introduced Dackers, but the substitute was unable to beat Evans, who did well to get a hand to the ball. The resulting corner was crossed in towards the near post, with Stirk turning the ball back out of play for a second corner, from which Dackers fired wide.

Another brief pause in proceedings followed, allowing McEntee to receive attention for a knock, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Nine additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time Ingram saw an effort sail wide of the upright, before, at the other end, Draper picked out Tierney with a lovely cross, with the Motherwell loanee looking to chip the ball over Cairns from twenty yards out, but unfortunately for the Saddlers there was a little too much height on the effort and the ball landed on the roof of the net.

Owens were called into action again eight minutes into those added, as Mallen fired a low effort goal-wards, but fortunately the Shot-stopper was alert to the danger and got down well to make the save.

That would be the final action of note, and the game was brought to it's conclusion with Walsall winning by two-goals-to-one. A superb win on the road for the Saddlers, who took their second-half chances well.

FULL-TIME
SALFORD CITY 1-2 WALSALL
SMITH (15')

McENTEE (59')
DRAPER (77')
AT PENINSULA STADIUM
REFEREE PAUL HOWARD (LONDON)
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