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Match Reports

Match Report: Stockport County 1-2 Walsall

8 January 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Stockport County 1-2 Walsall

8 January 2023

The Saddlers secured another late victory in the Emirates FA Cup as goals from Danny Johnson and a late penalty from Andy Williams saw us reach the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Michael Flynn made three changes to the side which returned to winning ways on New Year’s Day against Mansfield Town. Hayden White, Brandon Comley and Johnson came back into the starting XI, with Oisin McEntee, Jacob Maddox and Williams dropping to the bench.

The Saddlers made a bright start to the game and almost opened the scoring on 3 minutes. A marauding run by skipper Donervon Daniels resulted in the ball finding its way to Johnson who flicked the ball down the left into the path of Liam Gordon. The left-back produced a dangerous low cross into the box which found its way to Douglas James-Taylor who looked destined to guide home, but Ben Hinchliffe was on hand to produce a fine save from close range to keep it level.

The hosts came into it shortly after with Antoni Sarcevic taking a number of attempts at goal but none of the efforts troubled the Saddlers backline as they defended their box well throughout.

Isaac Hutchinson looked lively in the heart of the Walsall midfield and almost bagged himself another goal in this year’s competition when he bought the ball down in space and struck a fierce drive towards goal, but Hinchliffe was on hand again to deny with a fine save.

The end of the first half sparked controversy as Tom Knowles went down in the box after a challenge from Chris Hussey but the referee waved play on despite the protests on and off the pitch and both sides went into the break on level terms.

The second half such much of the same as the first as both sides continued to cancel each other out.

Flynn turned to his bench and introduced Williams in place of James-Taylor and within a minute of the change the visitors thought they had taken the lead when Johnson’s ball in behind was struck home by Gordon, but the linesman deemed the Saddlers man to be offside and a free-kick was given.

Stockport had chances to open the scoring on the counter attack following the disallowed goal, but a misplaced pass or poor delivery in the box saw them unable to take advantage. On 62 minutes, the hosts rued a massive missed opportunity. A low ball from Ryan Rydel saw Kyle Wootton strike towards goal and Owen Evans got down well to parry away but only into the path of Isaac Olaofe who looked all but certain to score, but the striker missed from close range.

Moments later and the Saddlers opened the scoring. A headed clearance from Manny Monthe found its way into the path of Johnson who composed himself before hitting a volley towards goal which eventually found its way into the back of the net after a mistake from Hinchliffe- queue pandemonium in the away end.

The hosts made some alterations minutes later on the back of this in search of an equaliser. On 74 minutes, there was pin ball in the Saddlers box as a number of crosses and shots were blocked and cleared away as the visitors stood strong to the test.

Flynn made further changes as Johnson and Knowles were replaced by Robbie Willmott, making his first appearance in a Saddlers shirt and McEntee as the clock ticked down.

On 88 minutes, the hosts levelled the scoring as substitute Paddy Madden curled a beautiful effort into the top corner following a scramble in the box.

Flynn’s side took the setback in their stride as they continued to push and test the hosts’ backline as we entered into six minutes of added time.

Williams had a flick on which was well saved by Hinchliffe before White had an effort which was cleared off the line.

Then, deep into stoppage-time, the Saddlers were awarded a late penalty after a high boot on Liam Kinsella and up stepped substitute Williams who kept his composure before dispatching to send the fans and bench into hysterics.

Flynn’s side regrouped and withstood any late pressure to secure their spot in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup.

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