Saddlers Boxing Clever
THE SADDLERS stepped out at stadium:mk for our Boxing Day clash with MK Dons determined to get a repeat of last season's scoreline and build upon our victory over Colchester United in the last game.
With the rain lashing down, the home side almost found themselves through within the opening few seconds, however, the ball ran away from Ryan Lowe as Aaron McCarey gathered at his feet.
The opening goal arrived on six minutes for The Dons when an inviting cross from the right found the head of Ryan Lowe who found the net.
The equaliser came on the quarter-hour mark when Craig Westcarr and Febian Brandy linked up well outside the area before Brandy skilfully cut through the home rear-guard and lashed home. His acrobatic goal celebration that followed was worthy of such a fine effort!
With our tails up, a low ball in from the right was eventually scrambled away as The Saddlers lined up to profit. Then, Adam Chambers and Jamie Paterson saw their efforts blocked.
The Saddlers took the lead on 25 minutes when Will Grigg did superbly well to hold off the attentions of Mathias Kouo-Doumbe on the edge of the area before curling into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-1.
A long-range effort from the home side was well pushed out by Aaron McCarey shortly after The Saddlers' second goal.
The scores were level on the half-hour when Dean Bowditch placed an effort from distance low and beyond the reach of McCarey to make it 2-2.
In the 39th minute saw more neat Walsall football ended with Adam Chambers unleashing a strike that was deflected just inches wide of the target.
The Saddlers regained the lead with just a couple of minutes to go until the break when some more lively play from Brandy saw him unsettle a nervous-looking home defence before feeding Grigg who found the net from close range.
HALF-TIME: MK Dons 2 Walsall 3
There was a let-off for The Saddlers early in the second period when a corner was headed inches wide by Antony Kay.
In the 64th minute, Pat Bamford found himself in space inside the area and his strike was deflected wide by Andy Butler. The resulting corner found its way to the far post where Ryan Lowe's effort hit the post and was smothered by McCarey as the home side had men forward looking to force the ball over the line.
The Saddlers were trying to take the sting out of the game and preserve our lead with the 354 travelling fans in a crowd of 8,700 doing their best to inspire their team.
The first change for Walsall came on 70 minutes as Flo Cuvelier replaced Craig Westcarr, moments before a Saddlers' corner flashed across the face of goal. A second corner ended with Andy Butler's header rattling the top of the crossbar.
There was a yellow card for Febian Brandy on 76 minutes for a foul.
Andy Butler saw yellow with nine minutes to go for a foul near the corner flag.
A low strike from distance by Sam Mantom crept just wide before a break on the left by Brandy ended with him finding Cuvelier whose attempt was saved by David Martin.
In stoppage time, Paterson found Brandy in space with a fine long ball and he was hauled back for a free-kick which wasn't properly cleared and Paterson found the net to seal the points and make it 4-2.
There was still time for Brandy to put another good opening well over as Walsall won for the second game in a row to make it a very Happy Christmas!
FULL-TIME: MK Dons 2 Walsall 4