2017 - Walsall 4-1 Sheffield United
One year ago today, the Saddlers hosted League One leaders Sheffield United at the Banks’s Stadium. The home side sat 14th in the league, while Sheffield United arrived in the West Midlands boasting the best away record in League One, as well as a four-point cushion over second-placed Scunthorpe.
Walsall boss Jon Whitney made four changes to the starting line-up. Eoghan O'Connell was handed his debut at centre-back after joining on loan from Celtic two days prior. There were also recalls for Matt Preston, Isaiah Osbourne and Erhun Oztumer.
The Saddlers lined up in a 3-5-2 formation, a shape that had proved successful for Sheffield United in their rise to the summit of League One, with Oztumer playing in the ‘number 10 role’ behind Amadou Bakayoko. Sheffield United included League One top scorer Billy Sharp in their starting XI, as well as Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Ethan Ebanks-Landell, who started in central defence.
United almost led inside four minutes, 17-goal marksman Sharp crashing a shot on the turn against the bar from 12 yards.
But Walsall went ahead a minute later, Bakayoko's accurate finish finding the bottom corner from Joe Edwards' through-ball. The goal was Bakayoko’s third of the season against the Bramall Lane outfit and the Sierra Leone-born striker’s ninth of the season.
The Blades levelled on 10 minutes, when Jack O'Connell nodded home from close range after Ebanks-Landell had headed a far-post free-kick from Mark Duffy back across goal.
But Walsall regained the lead on 58 minutes when Jason McCarthy exchanged passes with Bakayoko before trickling a shot past Moore at his near post.
Joe Edwards sealed the points on 67 minutes with his first Walsall goal, surging into the area before wrong-footing Blades’ shot-stopper Simon Moore with a near-post finish to make it 3-1.
Ten minutes later the Saddlers were awarded a penalty when Moore clumsily brought down George Dobson, which Erhun Oztumer coolly converted from the spot.
The win was Walsall’s third victory against the Blades that season, Whitney's men having also won at Bramall Lane both in the league (1-0) and in the Checkatrade Trophy (2-1).
They also ended the Blades' six-game winning streak with this stunning team performance in front of a crowd of 6,899, a performance that Jon Whitney described as “one of the best we have had during my 13 years at the club”.
The sponsors chose forward Amadou Bakayoko as their man of the match on this day, having scored one and assisted two.
Walsall Team: Etheridge; O'Connor, O'Connoll, Preston; Edwards, McCarthy; Chambers, Cuvelier (Dobson 74), Osbourne; Oztumer (Morris 87), Bakayoko (Jackson 77).
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Roberts, Laird, Makris.
What else happened in English football on this day in 2017?
Chelsea restored their lead to seven points at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 win against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
A Harry Kane hat-trick sent Tottenham Hotspur to second in the Premier League after they stuck four past West Bromwich Albion in Mauricio Pochettino’s 200th game in English football.
Joe Mason's first-half strike was the difference as Wolves beat Aston Villa in an entertaining derby, on a night when tributes were paid to the late Graham Taylor, who managed both West Midlands rivals.
Cardiff City took all three points back to South Wales in a 3-2 win against Bristol City in a pulsating Severnside derby when a late double from Anthony Pilkington sealed the victory for the Bluebirds.
Forward James Vaughan’s impressive performance was the talking point as he scored four goals in 20 minutes as Bury ended their 21-game winless run with a 5-1 victory against Peterborough United.
Yaser Kasim netted an 89th-minute winner for Swindon Town who came from behind to beat League One promotion chasers Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at the Macron Stadium.
Plymouth Argyle ran out 4-2 winners at home to Stevenage ahead of their FA Cup replay against Liverpool in front of a sold out Home Park the following Wednesday.
Doncaster Rovers came from behind to stay four points clear at the top of League Two, beating Barnet 3-1 at the Hive, with all four goals from both sides coming in the first half-hour.