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Match Report: Walsall 1-2 Bradford

27 February 2021

Walsall suffered their second successive defeat despite a spirited late rally against Bradford City.

Levi Sutton opened the scoring with a cracking strike in the first half before Andy Cook doubled their lead midway through the second half.

The Saddlers fought back and reduced the deficit through Dan Scarr before having strong appeals for a penalty turned down but they couldn’t find a leveller.

Walsall suffered a blow minutes before kick-off when Max Melbourne pulled out of the team with injury and was replaced by Callum Cockerill-Mollett.

That meant Brian Dutton made a total of five changes to the team that lost to Newport County on Tuesday.

Sam Perry came in for his full league debut while Tyreik Wright, Derick Osei-Yaw and Wes McDonald all came into the team in place of Cameron Norman, Caolan Lavery, Frank Vincent and Emmanuel Osadebe.

The Saddlers made a bright start and had an early opportunity when Wright played the ball back to Osei Yaw whose shot hit the side netting.

In-form Bradford also provided a threat in the first half and had a good chance after 22 minutes when Anthony O’Connor’s first-time ball found Olly Crankshaw who controlled it well before he arrowed in a shot that just crept wide.

The Saddlers enjoyed the majority of the possession from there but the visitors proved to be stubborn opposition.

Just as Walsall were building a bit of momentum, Bradford took the lead when Levi Sutton picked up the ball and unleashed a thunderous strike from 20-yards that went in off the crossbar and the Saddlers went into the break trailing.

The Saddlers had Liam Roberts to thank 10 minutes into the second half when he punched away Anthony O’Connor’s looping header.

Dutton made a change two minutes later as he introduced Lavery in place of Osei Yaw.

He also brought on Vincent and Norman seven minutes later for Cockerill-Mollett and Perry.

Despite having the majority of the possession in the second half, the Saddlers struggled to make it count and Bradford doubled their lead on 66 minutes when Sutton set up Andy Cook who took a touch before he turned the ball into the net.

Five minutes later the Saddlers got themselves back into the game when Wright’s corner was flicked on by Norman and then nodded in by Scarr.

Moments later Lavery had one cleared off the line before Gordon was brought down in the area and there were huge appeals for a penalty but nothing was given by the referee.

The Saddlers began to up the tempo and were boosted when the fourth official’s board showed five minutes of additional time.

Despite their efforts, they couldn’t find an equaliser.

 

Roberts; White, Scarr, Sadler, Cockerill-Mollett (Norman 64’); Wright, Bates, Perry (Vincent 64’), McDonald; Gordon, Osei Yaw (Lavery 57’)
Sub: Rose,  Sinclair, Nolan, Osadebe


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