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SADDLERS LIFT WALSALL SENIOR CUP

27 April 2015

Extra-time victory over Chasetown as we secure first-ever Walsall Senior Cup triumph...

THE SADDLERS were looking to create history by winning the Walsall Senior Cup for the first time as we locked horns with Chasetown in the Final at Banks’s Stadium.

Chances were few and far between for either team in the opening exchanges. It took until the 20th minute for the first real opportunity as former Saddlers’ youth team player, Richard Davies, lashed an effort just wide for The Scholars.

There was another scare for Walsall shortly afterwards when Nathaniel Waite caused problems and as he beat the ‘keeper, Matt Preston was on hand to clear off the line.

As the half went on, The Saddlers were still looking to get into our stride against lively opponents as the half ended goalless.

The Saddlers opened the scoring on 51 minutes when Henry did well on the left before finding Jordan Murphy who swept the ball home.

The scores were level soon afterwards when Simon Brown was brought down inside the penalty area. He duly stepped up and fired home from the spot to beat Dan Jezeph.

An effort from the edge of the area by James Baxendale flew over the crossbar whilst a low ball across the face of the Walsall goal evaded everyone at the other end.

It was Chasetown who took the lead when Waite played through Danny Edwards who stayed cool to slot the ball home.

Within minutes it was 3-1 when a free-kick from the right saw Davies effort blocked but the ball found its way to Danny Griffiths who made no mistake.

Walsall reduced the arrears on 79 minutes when a free-kick from Henry found the head of Murphy whose deft effort nestled home.

In the wake of the goal, Mazir Kouhyar replaced Jake Heath with ten minutes to go.

The equaliser arrived when Henry showed his quality to burst forward before exchanging passes with Murphy and firing home beyond the ‘keeper.

As the end of normal time approached, Amadou Bakayoko went close on a couple of occasions in quick succession but Chasetown survived as the game went to extra-time.

Extra-time started with Bakayoko being denied at close range by John Bateman in the Chasetown goal.

There was a booking for Flanagan for a foul before he was replaced by Jordan Sangha.

A free headser from Bakayoko from a corner was almost spilled by the 'keeper in the wet conditions before Henry's low strike skidded across the surface but was held by Bateman.

In stoppage time at the end of the first period of extra-time, Bakayoko fired Walsall back into the lead after some good build-up play on the edge of the area. Bakayoko was booked for his celebration which saw him take off his shirt.

The second period of extra-time was a rather frantic affair as Chasetown searched for a leveller but The Saddlers kept them at bay.

A defensive error from Chasetown saw Bakayoko and Murphy break but as the latter closed in on goal, he screwed his effort over from a good position.

In stoppage time at the end, Murphy broke on the counter before feeding Bakayoko who was denied by the 'keeper who was alert to the danger.

It was to be the last action as The Saddlers claimed a 4-3 win to lift the Walsall Senior Cup for the first-ever time.

"The game epitomised what we are about as a club," said reserve team manager, Richard O'Kelly. "The young players showed resilience to rise up in the face of adversity.

"It was a pulsating game that was played in the right spirit. It was hard-but-fair and an entertaining game."

WALSALL: Jezeph, J. Smith, Henry, K. Rowley, Preston, Heath, Baxendale, Flanagan, Murphy, Kinsella, Bakayoko. Subs: Sangha, Owen, Kouhyar, R. Smith, Caswell.

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