Chris Gwillam's match report...Would Walsall’s cup run go off with a bang or would it fizzle out like a sparkler. With cold air all around the stadium the players lined up for a minute’s silence.
The Silkmen Kicked off towards the empty Wolverhampton Stand. Up until the 8th minute both the Saddlers and Macclesfield had had many chances to go ahead but neither team could affect the team sheet early on. On the ten-minute mark Walsall’s defence was cut open, with Macclesfield on the brake Walsall were lucky that the ball did not hit the back off the net. Up until the 22nd minute chances becond but then Macclesfield ran through the Saddlers defence. Neil Etheridge (1) came out of his box and held up his leg. As a result of the tackle the Silkmen were gifted a chance. After a good ball McCombe (6) met it with a very good header. It was such a good header that Etheridge could not stop it. The Silkmen’s fans cheered with glory. Then in the 25th minute Sampson (10) of Macclesfield took down Laird (3) and was awarded a yellow card for his actions. 1 minute added time was given but nothing could be mustered by either team.
Walsall 0 – 1 Macclesfield Town
Just before the whistle (to start the half) sounded Macclesfield made a change were Byrne (4) came off for Hancox (16). As the second half started Walsall were lucky as Sampson brought the ball around Etheridge but lucky the Macclesfield striker scuffed his shot. Up until the 64th minute the game was as dull as the weather but then a welcomed Walsall change came as Moussa (44) was replaced by Bakayoko (20) who came on to try and make a difference. In the 76th minute Ginnelly (18) was brought on for Makris (33).
Walsall 0 – 1 Macclesfield-Full Time Score
In the press conference after the game Jon Whitney told me that “the team were all up for it”.
In the end the 451 away fans and the Silkmen team walked in to the second round.
Also the Man of the Match was Oztumer (10) but I think the way that Walsall played none of them should have been given it.
For the first round of the biggest club competition in the world I was disappointed that only 1883 Walsall fans turned up to see their club.