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Match Reports

Walsall 2-3 AFC Wimbledon

14 April 2018

The Saddlers squandered a two-goal half-time lead to lose at home to fellow relegation strugglers AFC Wimbledon.

First-half goals from Jack Fitzwater – his second in as many matches – and Julien Ngoy put Walsall in total control.

Efforts from Joe Pigott and Lyle Taylor drew the Dons level before Dean Parrett crashed home a 96th-minute penalty to complete a stirring fightback.

The result leaves Dean Keates’ men in 19th place, three points above the relegation zone.

The Saddlers started the game with real attacking intent, Luke Leahy unleashing a fierce second-minute drive which Dons keeper George Long parried away.

George Dobson saw two 18-yard efforts blocked in quick succession as Walsall continued to force the initiative.

And the hosts’ bright start was rewarded on six minutes as Erhun Oztumer’s curling free-kick was touched home by Jack Fitzwater for his second goal in as many matches.

After that rip-roaring start, the match began to settle down as Wimbledon looked to gain a foothold on proceedings.

The Wombles’ first meaningful effort on goal came just before the half-hour when Liam Trotter sent a half-volley wide from the edge of the box.

Tom Soares went close ten minutes before the break, lashing a strike just wide of the far post after a spell of Wimbledon pressure.

But the Saddlers’ lead was doubled on the stroke of half-time thanks to an excellent individual goal from Julien Ngoy.

The Stoke loanee chased a ball down the right and cut inside two Dons defenders before coolly stroking a left-footed shot beyond Long.

Wimbledon flew out of the traps at the start of the second half and gave themselves a lifeline with 48 minutes on the clock.

Andy Barcham was brought down by Nicky Devlin in the area but Lyle Taylor’s resulting penalty was brilliantly blocked by the legs of Liam Roberts.

Players from both sides converged on the loose ball, with Joe Pigott eventually hammering home from close range.

With Walsall rocking, the Wombles almost levelled as a long throw was flicked on for Taylor to crash a venomous volley against the foot of the post.

Neal Ardley’s men were well on top and again went close as Taylor’s near-post strike was saved by Roberts’ legs.

Pigott then found Barcham, who curled a right-footed shot inches past the far post.

The inevitable equaliser arrived on 65 minutes as Long’s clearance released the influential Taylor, who powered a vicious volley through Roberts.

Walsall looked to respond through Ngoy, who turned well before curling a tame effort into Long’s midriff.

Goalmouth incident dried up until the final minute of stoppage time, when Wimbledon were awarded a second penalty of the afternoon.

Kory Roberts was controversially penalised for holding Taylor and Dean Parrett rifled the subsequent spot-kick into the roof of the net.

 

Team (4-1-2-1-2): L Roberts; Devlin, Fitzwater (K Roberts 59’), Guthrie, Leahy; Chambers; Cuvelier, Dobson; Oztumer (Shaibu 85’); Bakayoko, Ngoy.

Subs not used: Gillespie, Kinsella, Flanagan, Morris, Kouhyar.

 

Attendance: 4,663 (733 Wimbledon supporters).


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