Young Saddlers fan James Rhodes brings you the match report from Tuesday nights 2-1 victory over Southend United in the Capital One Cup.
On the road for the second time in a week this time for a longer journey, I summarise last night`s game and share my thoughts.
The Saddlers named an unchanged squad from Saturday`s 1-1 draw with Port Vale on the opening day of the season, and although there were a few unsettled performances I believe this was the right decision.
Anyway that said, straight from the kick off The Saddlers showed their intent to attack Southend and we were dominating the possession, but not converting it into chances, due to Southend`s quick resolute defending. This would continue for the next 20 minutes however we looked the most likely of sides to score, and this was the case when a smart move down the left hand side was turned in by Mal Benning.
Goal: Southend 0-1 Walsall (Benning 25)
Straight after the goal Southend made their first change of the game with Will Atkinson being replaced by Conor Clifford. Following the substitution the hosts would begin to pile the pressure on The Saddlers however none of these chances would result in an equaliser and this brought the half to end with The Saddlers going into the break with a 1 goal lead. The only talking points was whether we should`ve been 2 goals ahead when Bradshaw capitalised on some uncertain handling from the opposing goal keeper, putting the ball in the net for the flag to be raised and whether the Southend player should`ve been booked for diving in the box.
H/T Southend 0-1 Walsall
No changes at the break for either side and it appeared business would be resumed as usual with The Saddlers dominating the possession and the hosts continuing their resolute defending. This was to be the case however when Tom Bradshaw was on goal for our first chance of the half it was to go just agonisingly wide; another well worked opportunity.
Following this attack The Saddlers made their first change of the match with James Baxendale being replaced by new boy Billy Clifford.
After the substitution and as the clock ticked down, Southend began to force their way into the game with chances for them coming in abundance, but not resulting into goals. They would continue their pressure and their continued pressure paid off when they were awarded a free kick in an advanced position that was well worked and resulted in a thunderbolt goal.
68 minutes: Southend 1-1 Walsall (Leonard)
It would seem all of The Saddlers` positive play would be wasted by another silly foul but it was evident that a cup run was essential and as a result we continued to attack to try to regain our lead, making a substitution in the process with Mal Benning being replaced by his fellow Academy Graduate, Kieron Morris.
As was the case last season against Carlisle when Morris made a fantastic delivery for our goal, he was to work his magic once again this time scoring a goal following some neat play down the left hand side.
87 minutes: Southend 1-2 Walsall (Morris)
Having once again taken the lead the pressure was building upon The Saddlers with Southend desperately trying to get themselves back on level terms. A string of attacks well defended by The Saddlers was enough to secure the result and see out the game.
F/T Southend 1-2 Walsall
In summary of tonight`s game I would say, as I am sure many fans agree things are looking bright for the season ahead, and with our latest additions there should be no reason as to why we cannot make a challenge for the play offs.
My apologies for the delay in the publication of the match report, it was a long journey home.
By James Rhodes