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16:45 7th November 2015
By  Daniel Briggs


George Evans scored his third goal in four matches as Walsall overcame League One rivals Fleetwood to reach the FA Cup second round.

The Manchester City loanee fired the Saddlers ahead with a crisp low strike on 20 minutes.

Jamille Matt, Nathan Pond and Declan McManus each went close for Fleetwood after the break.

But substitute Anthony Forde sealed the win with a delightful curling finish in the second minute of added time.

Dean Smith made one change to the side that came from two-goals down to beat Gillingham 3-2, with Matt Preston replacing James O’Connor.

This was only the fifth competitive meeting between the two sides; Walsall had won three of the previous four, with the other ending in a draw.

Steven Pressley’s Fleetwood, who slipped into the League One relegation zone last Saturday, were first to threaten inside two minutes.

David Ball nipped past Preston and delivered a teasing low centre across the six yard box.

Jamie Proctor was lurking menacingly but Paul Downing made a crucial interception to turn the ball behind.

Milan Lalkovic had the hosts’ first attempt, unleashing a low drive from outside the box which Fleetwood keeper Chris Maxwell saved comfortably to his right.

On 16 minutes, a flowing move involving Tom Bradshaw, Romaine Sawyers and Kieron Morris culminated in Lalkovic having a fierce goalbound shot blocked by Pond.

Walsall made the breakthrough four minutes later.

Sawyers squared to Evans, who arrowed a superb right-footed strike into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

It was the midfielder’s third goal in four appearances for the Saddlers since signing on loan from Manchester City.

The visitors looked to force their way back into the contest, with Tyler Forbes advancing down the right before seeing a tame effort easily saved by Neil Etheridge.

Bradshaw, who earned his first senior Wales call-up during the week, had a couple of headed chances.

First he flicked a header over from Morris’ free-kick, before nodding wide from Jason Demetriou’s driven cross.

Bradshaw threatened again seven minutes before the break, turning superbly to get away from Pond but Maxwell rushed off his line to smother the ball behind.


Walsall made two substitutions at the break; Craig MacGillivray and Forde replacing Etheridge and Lalkovic.

The hosts started the second half on the front foot.

After 47 minutes, Forde and Sawyers combined to tee up Morris, who shot straight at Maxwell.

Forde then fired over with a rising left-footed attempt from the edge of the box, and Demetriou dragged an effort wide from a similar distance.

Walsall looked in complete control but Fleetwood started to exert some pressure in the closing stages.

Forbes’ 25-yard shot sailed harmlessly over and Jamille Matt’s weak downward header bounced into the arms of MacGillivray.

The visitors’ best chance came after 80 minutes.

Substitute McManus dispossessed Downing but, one-on-one with MacGillivray, side-footed wide of the far post.

The Cod Army continued to cause problems, with Matt turning and shooting narrowly wide of the right-hand upright from inside the box.

It was now all Fleetwood.

Evans cleared Sarcevic’s shot off the line and Pond sent a powerful header wide from Haughton’s free-kick.

And Fleetwood were left to rue those missed opportunities as Walsall broke away to seal victory in the 92nd minute.

Henry's throw-in was flicked on by Sawyers to Forde, who advanced into the box before curling a delightful right-footed effort just inside the far post.

It was a finish of real quality, his second goal of the campaign.


Team: Etheridge (MacGillivray 46’), Demetriou, Downing, Chambers, Bradshaw (Cook 74’), Sawyers, Henry, Lalkovic (Forde 46’), Preston, Morris, Evans.

Subs not used: Taylor, Baxendale, Flanagan, Kinsella.

Attendance: 2,532 (95 Fleetwood supporters).


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.