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Match Report: Walsall 1-2 Cheltenham

16 February 2021

Brian Dutton’s first game in charge ended in defeat as Cheltenham Town came from behind to win at the Banks’s Stadium.

The Saddlers got their noses in front after three minutes through Caolan Lavery’s outstanding lob but goals from Sam Smith and Callum Wright completed the turnaround for the Robins who claimed all three points.

Brian Dutton made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Mansfield Town.

Cameron Norman and Frank Vincent came into the side in place of Tyreik Wright and Alfie Bates.

The Saddlers got off to the perfect start and took the lead after just three minutes thanks to an exquisite lob by Lavery from 25 yards. A goal of the season contender from the forward.

The visitors grew into the game and came close to equalising on 14 minutes when Alfie May dragged a shot onto the post.

It was a lively opening half as both teams looked to get on the ball and move it quickly.

Cheltenham ended the half strongly and capitalised on a Walsall mistake when Dan Scarr’s pass was intercepted and May drove into the box and set up Smith who applied the finish from close range.

Michael Duff’s side continued to probe and turned the game around two minutes before half-time when Wright found the net with a low drive from 20 yards that he squeezed inside the left-hand post and the Saddlers found themselves behind at the break.

The Saddlers looked to respond in the second half and started to see a lot more of the ball.

Josh Gordon fashioned an opportunity for himself with some neat footwork before he got a shot away that was deflected wide.

Gordon then met the resulting corner with his head but he flicked Vincent’s ball wide.

Dutton made a double substitution on 73 minutes when he introduced Jack Nolan and Alfie Bates in place of Lavery and Vincent.

While the Saddlers continued to dominate the ball in the second half, they rarely tested Josh Griffiths.

McDonald had a decent opportunity as he skipped into the area and got a shot away but he was unable to get his effort on target.

Dutton made a third change with 10 minutes to go as he brought on Derick Osei Yaw to replace McDonald.

Max Melbourne had a chance late on when he got on the end of Cameron Norman’s cross but his header was caught by Griffiths and that proved to be the last chance of the game. 

Roberts; Norman, White, Scarr, Sadler, Melbourne; Kinsella, Vincent (Bates); McDonald (Osei Yaw), Lavery (Nolan), Gordon
Subs: Rose, Cockerill-Mollett, Osadebe, Reid


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