Walsall so far

September 6, 2017

We thought we would take a look at how Saturday’s opponents Walsall have fared so far this season. Their league record is won two, drawn two and lost one, and their eight points leaves them two points better off than Rovers.

Bury 1 Walsall 0

Walsall fell to a disappointing opening-day defeat at big-spending Bury despite goalkeeper Mark Gillespie making two fantastic penalty saves on his debut. The Shakers could have gone ahead inside three minutes but Jermaine Beckford’s low penalty was superbly kept out by the former Carlisle stopper.

Beckford made amends in first half injury time, heading home Chris Maguire’s deflected free-kick from close range. Maguire himself saw a spot-kick tipped onto the post by Gillespie nine minutes from time, but the Saddlers were unable to capitalise.

Sheffield United 3 Walsall 2

Goals from Amadou Bakayoko and Erhun Oztumer proved to no avail as Walsall were beaten by Sheffield United in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

Bakayoko slotted the Saddlers into a deserved half-time lead, but a Kory Roberts own goal and quick-fire strikes from Nathan Thomas and Daniel Lafferty turned the match on its head. Oztumer’s last-minute penalty gave the visitors hope, but it proved too little too late.

Walsall 2 Oldham Athletic 1

Ryan McLaughlin put the visitors ahead on 29 minutes when his left-wing cross evaded everyone and ended up in the net. The Saddlers rallied in the second half and equalised on 54 minutes, Joe Edwards drilling home after a corner was only half-cleared.

Oztumer, Amadou Bakayoko and Kieron Morris each went close before Oztumer struck in the final minute of normal time to secure a dramatic victory.

Portsmouth 1 Walsall 1

Luke Leahy scored his first Walsall goal as the Saddlers were held by newly-promoted Portsmouth at a packed Fratton Park. After an uneventful first half, the left-back put the visitors in front on 47 minutes when he tapped in James Wilson’s low cross.

But Pompey equalised on 74 minutes as Brett Pitman smashed home a penalty after Mark Gillespie had felled Nicke Kabamba.

Walsall 3 Bradford City 3

Debutant Tyler Roberts came off the bench to score one and make one as Walsall came from three goals down to draw with promotion hopefuls Bradford.

Shay McCartan’s 30th-minute tap-in put the Bantams ahead before Dominic Poleon squeezed home a second on the stroke of half-time.

A Luke Leahy own goal made it 3-0, but the left wing-back made amends with a powerful header to reduce the arrears.

Roberts then headed home Leahy’s cross to make it 3-2 and Amadou Bakayoko completed the comeback with a stooping header from a Roberts centre.

Walsall 2 Plymouth Argyle 1

A Daniel Agyei header and an Erhun Oztumer strike earned the victory over newly-promoted Plymouth.

Debutant Agyei, signed on loan from Burnley less than 48 hours earlier, put the hosts ahead on 23 minutes when he nodded in Luke Leahy’s cross.

Erhun Oztumer doubled the lead with a low 81st-minute strike, and although a hotly-disputed Graham Carey penalty reduced the arrears, Walsall held on.

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