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Kick off 17:30 (UK)

2-0
05 May 2018 Venue Highbury Stadium Attendance

Kick off 17:30 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports

Fleetwood 2-0 Walsall

5 May 2018

The Saddlers’ 2017/18 season ended in disappointing fashion with a defeat at Fleetwood.

First-half goals from Ashley Hunter and Paddy Madden secured a comfortable victory for Town, meaning Walsall ended the campaign in 19th place.

The home side, under John Sheridan’s guidance for the final time, had the first effort of note when Ashley Eastham fired well wide from an early Bobby Grant corner.

Maz Kouhyar, one of five players recalled to an experimental Saddlers starting XI, warmed the gloves of Town keeper Alex Cairns on 12 minutes with a firm left-footed strike.

Flo Cuvelier was next to try his luck from distance but his effort lacked sufficient power and was comfortable for Cairns.

There was a moment of alarm for the visitors just before the half-hour as Ashley Hunter jinked past Kory Roberts on the byline but his dangerous pull-back was cleared.

The winger went for goal himself moments later – to devastating effect.

Receiving possession on the left, Hunter cut inside onto his right foot and bent a fine shot just inside the far post.

The Cod Army grabbed a second on the cusp of half-time as Kyle Dempsey’s low strike was parried by Mark Gillespie, with Paddy Madden reacting quickest to gobble up the rebound.

Callum Cockerill-Mollett looked to pull one back for Walsall in first-half injury time, hitting a speculative long-range effort which sailed over.

Town threatened to increase their advantage 12 minutes after the restart as Conor McAleny’s cross found Hunter at the far post but his firm drive was blocked by the chest of Gillespie.

Dean Keates made a triple change midway through the half, bringing on Erhun Oztumer, Mitch Candlin and Will Shorrock in place of Amadou Bakayoko, Luke Leahy and Cuvelier.

Fleetwood still appeared the more likely to get the next goal, with Gethan Jones volleying Lewie Coyle’s cross wide from the narrowest of angles.

Cairns was rarely called upon at the other end, making just a couple of comfortable saves to keep out a deflected Cockerill-Mollett drive and a left-footed Reece Flanagan effort.

Toumani Digouraga diverted Harrison Biggins’ cross over via a deflection late on after a well-worked free-kick routine, while Nathan Pond fired over from the resulting corner.

 

Team (4-5-1): Gillespie; K Roberts, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Cockerill-Mollett; Kouhyar, Dobson, Cuvelier (Oztumer 65’), Flanagan, Leahy (Shorrock 65’); Bakayoko (Candlin 65’).

Subs not used: L Roberts, Devlin, Kinsella, Morris.

 

Attendance: 3,644 (1,084 Walsall supporters)

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