Match Report: Sheppey United 1 Walsall 4 Match Report: Sheppey United 1 Walsall 4
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Sheppey United 1 Walsall 4

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' Emirates FA Cup clash with Sheppey United.
Walsall were back in action on Friday evening as they made the trip to Kent and took on Sheppey United in the First Round (proper) if this season's Emirates FA Cup.

Looking to avoid a potential banana shin, Head Coach Mat Sadler named a strong team as he hoped to secure safe passage into the next stage of the world's oldest domestic cup competition.

Sheppey began the game brightly, winning a corner just three minutes into the contest, as Walsall captain, Donervon Daniels turned the ball behind, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

The Saddlers saw more of the ball as the match continued, winning a corner themselves in the eighth minute, as Douglas James-Taylor saw a shot on goal blocked by Connor Wilkins. Ryan Stirk crossed the ball in from the flag-kick, finding the head of Oisin McEntee, but the midfielder was unable to find the target, sending the ball whistling wide of the upright.

Walsall continued to enjoy a bright spell, with Ross Tierney seeing an effort sail high and wide of the Sheppey goal in the ninth minute, before a James-Taylor strike from the centre of the box was saved by Sheppey shot-stopper, Aiden Prall.

The visiting side continued to test United's defences, with Isaac Hutchinson working the ball to James-Taylor in the eleventh minute, with the striker drawing another good save from Prall to keep the scores tied.

As we reached the quarter hour mark, McEntee and James-Taylor combined to work the ball into the box for Liam Gordon, who saw a low strike saved by Prall.

Walsall continued to look the more likely of the two sides to open the scoring as the match continued, with Daniels playing the ball onto the head of James-Taylor in the nineteenth minute, but the strikers effort on goal was well saved by Prall, moments before Tierney saw a strike sail high and wide of the target from outside the area.

Against the run of play, Sheppey opened the scoring in the twenty-first minute, as Gordon gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Jacob Lambert to play the ball through for James Bessey-Saldanha, whose right-footed strike sailed into the top corner from twenty yards out.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, but James-Taylor's twenty-seventh minute strike from outside the box sailed wide of the target, after some good play from Tierney to work the ball to him.

Unperturbed, the visiting side continued to press, with Tom Knowles crossing a promising ball in for James-Taylor in the twenty-ninth minute, but the strikers effort was turned off the line by Connor Wilkins, before McEntee worked the ball to Isaac Hutchinson, who saw a strike from outside the area sail wide of the target.

James-Taylor found the goal he had been searching for in the thirty-second minute, as he picked up a loose ball twenty-five yards from goal and darted into the box before firing a low strike past Prall, into the bottom corner.

Buoyed by their goal, the Saddlers pressed again, with Hutchinson curling an effort goal-wards in the thirty-fourth minute, forcing Prall to make another good save to deny him.

The Saddlers went close to taking the lead in the fortieth minute, as Gordon played the ball to Stirk, who fired a powerful effort goal-wards, forcing another fine save from Prall, who did well to get to the ball to turn it behind. Stirk crossed the ball in towards the back post from the resulting corner, where it was met by McEntee, who was unable to find the target with an effort that narrowly cleared the crossbar.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the forty-third minute, allowing Daniel Bradshaw to receive attention from the medical team. It was soon determined that he would be unable to continue, and Alex Willis was brought on in his place.

Three 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 the scores tied at one-goal-apiece.


The teams returned unchanged following the break, and the action got back underway. Sheppey began the second-half brightly, with a delightful long cross from Frankie Morgan being met at the back post by Willis, but the substitute was unable to find the target with his effort from a tight angle.

Walsall had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where Hutchinson picked up the ball, cut inside and fired an effort in on goal, but Prall was alert to the danger and pushed the ball clear.

The hosts were awarded a free-kick in a promising position in the fifty-first minute as Knowles was penalised for a foul on Morgan. Sheppey captain, Richie Hamill crossed a dangerous ball into the area from the set-piece, with Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans missing the ball, allowing Wilkins a shot on goal, but the defenders effort sailed wide of the target, when he really should have scored. A big let off for the Saddlers.

Walsall went close themselves two minutes later, as Stirk played in Hutchinson, but the midfielders strike from the edge of the area sailed narrowly wide.

The Saddlers had more luck in front of goal in the fifty-third minute, as Hutchinson turned provider, crossing the ball to Knowles, who curled an effort into the bottom corner from outside the box to put his side ahead for the first time in the contest.

Walsall continued to press, as they looked to put distance between the two sides. James-Taylor seeing an effort blocked in the fifty-fourth minute, moments before Tierney crossed the ball to McEntee, who also saw a strike blocked.

The visitors won a corner in the fifty-seventh minute, as Wilkins turned the ball behind, but James-Taylor was unable to find the target with his headed effort as he got on the end of Tierney's cross in.

The pressure continued, with Stirk seeing a strike from outside the box sail wide of the upright in the fifty-ninth minute, two minutes before Hutchinson headed the ball on for Tierney, who fired an effort high and wide of the target from the centre of the area.

The visitors again found the target in the sixty-third minute, as Daniels drove the ball forwards before picking out Tierney with a cross into the box, with the Motherwell loanee firing home from the edge of the area.

Sheppey opted to make a double change to their line-up in the sixty-seventh minute, with Danny Leonard and Josh Wisson making way for Malachi Morris and D'Jean Spencer.

Walsall continued to test the Sheppey defences as the match continued, winning a corner in the seventy-second minute as the recently introduced Morris put the ball out of play. Stirk swung the ball into the area from the flag-kick, where it was headed down by McEntee for James-Taylor, who hooked the ball wide from close range.

The Saddlers chose to make their first change of the evening in the seventy-seventh minute, with David Okagbue making way for Brandon Comley.

Walsall sought further goals as the game continued, with Knowles seeing an effort saved by Prall in the seventy-seventh minute, before Joe Riley saw a shot sail wide of the target moments later.

Seven minutes from time, Sheppey opted to make two further changes to their line-up, with Connor Wilkins and Jacob Lambert making way for Daniel Birch and Oladipo Durowoju.

Walsall secured their fourth goal of the evening in the eighty-eighth minute, as a scrap in the box saw Hutchinson come away with the ball before firing home, although the 'keeper had two hands on the ball as he denied James-Taylor so the goal should perhaps not have stood.

As we reached the ninetieth minute, Walsall chose to make a triple substitution, with Tom Knowles, Oisin McEntee and Douglas James-Taylor being replaced by Dylan Thomas, Rollin Menayese and Danny Johnson.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, but there was little further action of note, and Walsall progressed into second round of the FA Cup, as they beat Sheppey by four-goals-to-one.


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