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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
22:07 19th January 2013
By  Andrew Poole

Saddlers success in snow...

MATCH REPORT

THE SADDLERS stepped out at Banks's Stadium for this clash which went ahead following a massive effort from staff and volunteers to clear snow. 

It was Walsall who looked lively coming out of the blocks and a cross from the left was hooked just over by Febian Brandy within the opening five minutes. 

A weaving run by Jamie Paterson in the eighth minute saw him break into the area but fire into the side-netting. 

After Will Grigg fed James Baxendale, he cut into the danger zone near the by-line only for the experienced David James to take the ball off his foot. 

There was a booking for Ben Purkiss for a 22nd minute foul as the visitors looked to get into their stride. 

The visitors had a let-off in the 25th minute when David James spilled the ball on the edge of the area and Will Grigg saw his effort blocked in front of goal. 

It wasn't long before The Saddlers had the lead when Sam Mantom fired the ball goalwards from the right side of the area and the ball travelled through a group of players and beyond the 'keeper to make it 1-0. 

AFC Bournemouth looking uneasy in defence with The Saddlers' pace causing them concern. 

With 34 minutes on the clock, James Baxendale did well just outside the area to dig out a strike that crept just wide. 

A break by the visitors in the 40th minute saw a suspicion of handball at Lewis Grabban made a positive run before crossing for Brett Pitman whose header hit the underside of the crossbar. 

A foul on Jamie Paterson gave Walsall a free-kick in a promising position out wide, but The Cherries were able to clear their lines. 

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, The Saddlers broke away with Will Grigg skipping past two challenges before being brought down by James. The experienced 'keeper only saw yellow as Grigg stepped up to stroke home and make it 2-0. 

There was still time for Grigg to create another chance as he once more proved a handful and dipped his effort inches over with James grounded. 

HALF-TIME: Walsall 2 AFC Bournemouth 0

The visitors managed to grab a goal back early in the second period when Brett Pitman forced the ball home at the near post following a cross from the right. 

Moments later some quick feet from Paterson saw him cut inside and hit the post with his low strike. 

Brandy saw yellow for a foul on 52 minutes as the resulting free-kick was delivered high into the area but came to nothing. 

There was a let-off for The Saddlers when Ian McLoughlin failed to deal with a cross and a header from close range hit the crossbar from Wes Thomas as two Cherries' players went for it. 

Paterson did well in the 66th minute to win the ball and fire in a low effort that James managed to hold on to. 

Some great skill by Brandy in the corner took him away from two players and as the ball found its way to Baxendale, he was fouled on the edge of the area. The free-kick from Benning was on target and kept out by James who failed to hold on and as the ball was returned towards goal courtesy of a deflection off a visiting defender, Brandy went for it, as he was entitled to do, but got a second yellow card. 

With just over ten minutes to go, Grigg got away from Steve Cook on the right only to be pulled back as he approached the area. The referee didn't give the foul but then pointed to the spot when Eunan O'Kane picked up the ball and, once more, Grigg tucked home for 3-1. 

The ten-man Saddlers continued to work extremely hard against opposition who had not been beaten in the League since the start of October. 

The first change by Dean Smith saw James Chambers replace Baxendale with four minutes to go. 

A late clearance from Paul Downing saw him deny the visitors as they searched in vain for a way back into the game. 

From the staff who spent two solid days clearing the pitch and stadium of snow, the fans who braved the elements to give such excellent support, to the players who put in another impressive display, this was a real team effort - WELL DONE TO EVERYONE! 

FULL-TIME: Walsall 3 AFC Bournemouth 1 

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