On a Sunny Saturday afternoon within the walls of the Banks’s Stadium, at a time in the match when both team’s lacked a clinical edge, up stepped captain James Clarke whose acrobatic finish into the top corner of the net helped secure the Saddlers a 1-0 win against Scunthorpe United writes Liam Bryan.
Scunny provided more of the attacking threat in the first half with Alex Gilliead and Yann Songo’o’s headers forcing Roberts into action in the first ten minutes.
Caolan Lavery’s low driven shot proved to be Walsall’s best chance of the first half however the striker fired inches wide of the post.
After 20 minutes, Darrell Clarke was forced into making a substitution as Lavery appeared to have picked up an injury and was replaced by Josh Gordon.
The Coaching Staff started to become frustrated as they knew their side could play at a higher tempo. During the later stages of the first half, Walsall sporadically controlled possession and were composed with half-chances for Wes McDonald and Rory Gaffney being created as a result of Darrell Clarke’s side being calm on the ball.
As the second half began, both teams struggled to control play with the consequent long ball tactics evidently portraying poor cohesion.
The Saddlers started to create more chances as the second half progressed with Gordon, Gaffney and Rory Holden going close to scoring however in the 65th minute, something extraordinary occurred.
Following the midfielder’s corner, Danny Guthrie’s accurate cross into the box fell to defender James Clarke who rose like a salmon and stung like a bee after the fixture’s Man of the Match’s sublime bicycle kick gave Darrell Clarke’s side the lead!
The home side looked re-energised after the opening goal and started to utilise their creativity with Gaffney’s shot blocked and James Clarke’s second attempt at a bicycle kick being easily saved by Scunthorpe’s goalkeeper Rory Watson.
For the last 10 minutes of regular time Scunthorpe started to control possession and began to create chances however the Walsall backline remained firm and Darrell Clarke’s side held on for their second consecutive win.