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Match Reports

Match Report: Walsall 4-1 Gillingham

14 October 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Walsall 4-1 Gillingham

14 October 2023

It was the perfect day for Isaac Hutchinson as he scored a hat-trick and laid on an assist as Walsall got back to winning ways against Gillingham.

Freddie Draper also got on the scoresheet in the first half as the Saddlers raced into a two goal lead in the opening 45 minutes.

Hutchinson then netted either side of Macauley Bonne’s strike to round off a fantastic day at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.

Mat Sadler made four changes to the team that started against Forest Green Rovers in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.

Owen Evans, Joe Riley, Donervon Daniels and Freddie Draper all came into the team while Jackson Smith, Joe Foulkes, Harvey Griffiths and Douglas James-Taylor dropped to the bench.

The first chance of the afternoon fell to the Saddlers when as Hutchinson drifted inside from the left and let fly with a shot from just outside the box but it trickled wide.

Gillingham's first sights on goal came moments later when Tom Nichols had a shot blocked by Harry Williams before Robbie McKenzie’s effort from distance was deflected over by his own player.

Tierney showed excellent footwork on 23 minutes as he danced through the Gillingham defence to get to the by-line and deliver a cross to Oisin McEntee who could only direct his header over the bar.

There was a strange incident midway through the half when Gillingham Interim Manager Keith Millen was sent off for tripping Tom Knowles as he went to take a throw in.

As the first half went on, the Saddlers started to take control.

The hosts opened the scoring on 34 minutes when Hutchinson held off his man on the edge of the box and wrapped his boot round the ball and he beautifully caressed it into the back of the net.

Five minutes later, the Saddlers doubled their lead and Hutchinson was involved again as he threaded the ball through to Draper who bent the ball past Jake Turner.

It wasn’t all plain sailing in the first half and Walsall had Evans to thank late in the first half as he made two heroic saves from point-blank range to deny Macauley Bonne and Nichols to ensure they went into the half time interval with their two-goal advantage intact.

It got better for the Saddlers on 58 minutes as Hutchinson got his second of the afternoon when he snuck the ball in the bottom corner of Turner’s near post.

Gillingham responded just three minutes later though when Bonne turned the ball home after Evans made another brilliant save but the striker followed up on the rebound.

It became a bit end to end after the goal but the Saddlers looked dangerous on the break and had some good chances to add a fourth as Knowles volleyed wide before Draper clipped the cross bar with a lob.

Gillingham increased the pressure as they looked for a route back into the game.

Sadler turned to his bench and introduced Brandon Comley and Jamille Matt to replace Draper and Knowles.

Evans was again called into action, this time to push Shad Ogie’s powerful drive round the post.

The Saddlers continued to pose a threat on the breakaway and that’s how the fourth goal came as the ball was played into Matt who turned brilliant and switched it to Tierney who crossed towards the back post and Hutchinson was there at the back post and he headed it into the far corner to complete a sensational hat-trick and the Saddlers claimed all three points in style.

Evans; Riley, Williams, Daniels, Allen; Stirk, McEntee; Knowles (Comley 78’), Tierney, Hutchinson; Draper (Matt 78’)
Subs: Smith, James-Taylor, Foulkes, Johnson, Griffiths

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