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Match Reports

Match Report: Salford City 1-2 Walsall

9 September 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Salford City 1-2 Walsall

9 September 2023

The Saddlers came from behind to pick up their first away victory since January against Salford City at the Peninsula Stadium.

Matt Smith opened the scoring in the first half which the home side dominated, however Freddie Draper and Oisin McEntee turned the game on its head with goals in the second half as the Saddlers made it back-to-back victories. 

Head Coach Mat Sadler made two changes to the side which claimed all three points against Colchester United last Saturday. David Okagbue made his first start since his deadline day move from Stoke City to replace Liam Gordon who was on international duty with Guyana, whilst Joe Foulkes also coming back into the starting XI in place of Tom Knowles.

Salford broke the deadlock at the Peninsula Stadium after 15 minutes as a low shot from Luke Bolton hit Smith and he was able to bundle the ball past Owen Evans from close range. 

The home side settled into their rhythm and continued to control the first half but it wasn’t until the second minute of additional time that they would then test Evans again.

Stevie Mallan found himself in acres of space 30-yards out and his deflected shot looped towards goal but Evans made a fine save to tip the ball over to deny the midfielder. 

Into the second half and the Saddlers made a double change as Ross Tierney and Aramide Oteh came on for Okagbue and Jamille Matt with the pair making positive impacts in the second 45. 

Just a minute before the hour mark, the Saddlers got themselves back on level terms through Draper. Ryan Stirk played a quick free-kick to McEntee and the midfielder delivered an inch perfect cross to Draper and his bullet header flew past Alex Cairns in the City goal.

With 13 minutes left of normal time, Mat Sadler’s side got themselves ahead in the game for the first time to complete the turnaround as the superb McEntee popped up in the right place at the right time at the back post. 

Superb work from the lively Draper saw him weave his way through two Salford defenders before shooting low at Cairns. The goalkeeper made a great save with his left leg but McEntee was on hand to smash home the rebound from close range. 

Moments later and the Saddlers could have had a third, again Draper causing the defence all sorts of problems.

McEntee nodded the ball down to Draper and he remained patient before shooting hard and low at Cairns’ goal but the keeper made a fine low save to deny him a second goal on the afternoon. 

Salford responded and put the Saddlers under late pressure. Owen Evans made two fine saves to deny Marcus Dackers as the Saddlers looked to hold on to their lead.

Tierney also sealed victory in stoppage time as he tried to loop the ball over Cairns, who was off his line, but his effort dipped just over the bar.

Nonetheless, Sadler's side preserved the lead and held on to claim an important three points in Greater Manchester, making it back-to-back wins in the league. 

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