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Match Reports

Sheff Utd 3-2 Walsall

9 August 2017

Goals from Amadou Bakayoko and Erhun Oztumer proved to no avail as Walsall were beaten by Sheffield United in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

Bakayoko slotted the Saddlers into a deserved half-time lead, but a Kory Roberts own goal and quick-fire strikes from Nathan Thomas and Daniel Lafferty turned the match on its head.

Oztumer’s last-minute penalty gave the visitors hope, but it proved too little too late.

Jon Whitney’s men beat Sheffield United three times last season, with Bakayoko scoring in each of those wins.

And the Sierra Leone forward proved United’s nemesis again as he fired Walsall into a surprise 13th-minute lead.

Oztumer was the provider, beating the offside trap and putting a low cross on a plate for Bakayoko to calmly slot home – his fourth goal in as many matches against the Blades.

The response from the home side – who were completely changed from their weekend win over Brentford – was muted.

Roberts made an important block to deny Caolan Lavery, who then poked wide from John Brayford’s clever reverse pass, but the Blades were mainly kept at arm’s length.

Having been a spectator throughout the first half, Saddlers stopper Mark Gillespie was called into action three minutes into the second.

The ex-Carlisle man flapped initially at a Jake Bennett cross but made amends with a fine save to push Lavery’s right-footed shot around the post.

Bakayoko threatened a second goal when he collected Luke Leahy’s cut-back before firing high over the bar from a tricky angle.

But Walsall's defensive resistance was cruelly broken on 74 minutes.

Evans’ fierce drive was parried by Gillespie, with the ball hitting the unfortunate Roberts and bouncing into the net.

Four minutes later, and the comeback was complete.

Evans turned creator, delivering an accurate pull-back for Thomas to fire home from eight yards.

With the wind in their sails, Sheff Utd added a third goal with eight minutes remaining, Lafferty with a deflected strike which looped over Roberts on the line.

The visitors refused to let their heads drop and pulled a goal back in added time, Oztumer confidently dispatching a penalty into the top corner following a Chris Basham handball.

But it wasn't enough as the hosts held on to reach the next round.


Team: Gillespie, Edwards, Leahy, Guthrie, Devlin, Chambers, Oztumer, Morris, Kinsella (Kouhyar 83’), Bakayoko (Jackson 75’), K Roberts.

Subs not used: L Roberts, Flanagan, Sangha, Cockerill-Mollett, Candlin.

Attendance: 5,210 (236 Walsall supporters).

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