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Match Reports

Match Report: Southampton 4-0 Walsall

6 January 2024

Match Reports

Match Report: Southampton 4-0 Walsall

6 January 2024

The Saddlers' Emirates FA Cup campaign came to an end at St Mary's Stadium as Championship outfit Southampton advanced into the next round with a 4-0 victory.

There was one change to the team that started the emphatic 1-6 victory away against Grimsby Town on New Year's Day. Danny Johnson came back into the starting XI for Freddie Draper who was recalled by Lincoln City after his impressive loan spell with the Saddlers.

The Saints enjoyed most of the possession in the opening exchanges and made advantage of this with an early goal. Taylor Harwood-Bellis spotted Ryan Fraser making a curved run behind the Saddlers and the defender managed to pick out the former Bournemouth and Newcastle man with his pass and Fraser controlled well on his chest before drilling his effort into the bottom corner on 6 minutes.

Mat Sadler's side then had to withstand a lot of pressure from the hosts as they looked to grab their second of the game. Jayden Meghoma was causing havoc down the left-hand side with his pace and delivery into the box throughout. On 10 minutes, he sent a ball into the box which Sekou Mara met with his head but his effort went over the bar. Carlos Alcaraz then had a chance on 19 minutes as he span when controlling the ball to give him a yard of space but his resulting effort did little to trouble Jackson Smith.

On the half-hour mark, Mara missed a glorious chance for the Saints as he put a shot over the bar from close range under pressure from the Saddlers defenders after the ball deflected kindly into his path following an inital shot from Fraser.

The Saddlers recorded their first opportunuity of the game on 34 minutes as Priestley Farquharson's lofted ball to the right-hand side was controlled brilliantly by Tom Knowles and he cut inside before fizzing an effort at goal but it went just wide of the mark.

The visitors then had another opportunity of note on 37 minutes as Isaac Hutchinson picked up the ball and drove into space and despite having the option of Douglas James-Taylor to his left, he struck at goal on his weaker but his effort was collected by Joe Lumley and Russell Martin's men went into the break ahead.

Into the second half and the Saddlers came out with real intent and had a glorious opportunity to level the contest on 51 minutes. After pressing the Saints in their own half, Jack Earing picked up a loose pass and drives into the box and has the goal in his sight but his effort went wide of the mark.

Shortly after, the Saints added their second. Fraser turned from scorer to provider on this ocassion as he cut the ball back for Mara who controlled well and turned before firing the ball past Smith.

Fraser then grabbed his second and a third for the Saints on 68 minutes with a controlled effort from the left-hand side which beat Smith and nestled into the far-corner.

Despite the scoreline, the Saddlers continued to plug away under the loud noise from the away end but were unable to find the desired openings.

On 78 minutes, the Saints made it four as substitute Che Adams was picked out by Alcaraz and he converted his close-range finish, despite the best efforts of Liam Gordon on the line, to conclude events at St Mary's Stadium.

Attendance: 22627


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