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ST THOMAS MORE REPORTER: MATTHEW APLIN'S MATCH REPORT

19 April 2016

Matthew Aplin's report on Walsall 1-0 Southend...

Walsall versus Southend United the game that will decide Walsall’s fate this season it’s all in the balance for them as they must win to keep the pressure on the teams above them Burton and Wigan.

The first half was a great performance from the team with a threating Walsall looking like they were going to go a goal up from early on as Romaine Sawyers tried to chip the keeper to the right hand side but missed it to the left side of the goal.

Southend’s goal keeper Dan Bentley played outstanding in this match for the opposition and the three shots from Jordy Hiwula, Romaine Sawyers and Milan Lalkovic in the half-hour mark didn’t faze him at all. He rebounded per shot towards the next Walsall player but the three players couldn’t find the back of the net.

The match started to slow down as in the last 10th minutes of the first half and then the second half began.

The second half was going Walsall’s way again but the team couldn’t convert with Anthony Forde hitting the left bar and it didn’t seem it was going to be Walsall’s day today.

The changes came in Kieron Morris on for Milan in the 73rd minute and Jordan Cook on for Sam Mantom in the 79th minute. This opened the game for Walsall with some fresh players coming onto the pitch.

There was another important save for Dan Bentley with Jason Demetriou taking a blazing longshot straight into the top left corner of the net but only gets a corner out of it in the 86th minute.

It was looking to not be Walsall’s day but then in the 88th minute Walsall having a corner and the substation Morris crossing it in to allow Jordy Hiwula to header it off the top of the woodwork to bounce just over the line. The linesman had raised his flag to give the goal to Walsall which they absolutely deserve.

The scenes in the ground was outstanding to the roars of the crowd to the players celebrating with the fans. But the players still have a job to do and it could have been a draw if it wasn’t for Neil Etheridge who has been on tremendous form with his penalty save in the week against Gillingham to this save against Adam Barret with his volley hitting the top mark into the goal but Etheridge coming on top in the dying minutes of the game.

With this result Jon Whitney is looking towards the game on Tuesday against Swindon and deciding the tactics to use “I was thinking about Swindon straight after this match and to know what formation to use against them” with this Whitney was very impressed with the team saying “I thought the motm performance was the whole team. They were all great today”

With this Walsall are back in the race and with a game in hand, and with the better goal difference Walsall will be putting fate into their own hands for the remaining games.

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