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Match Reports

Match report for Walsall 1 Sutton Utd 0

12 March 2022

As they had done at the VBS Community Stadium in October, Walsall won an undistinguished game by the only goal to become the first side to complete a Sky Bet League Two double over Sutton this season.

At Sutton, U's had been unhappy about the free kick award which led to Tyrese Shade's winner, and here they were similarly aggrieved when, just after the half hour mark, referee Scott Oldham pointed to the penalty spot after what seemed an innocuous challenge by Joe Kizzi on Conor Wilkinson, who converted the penalty which was enough to secure the home side the points.

After the euphoria of Tuesday night this was an afternoon when little went U's way, goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis pulling up injured in the warm up to give Stuart Nelson his debut, and manager Matt Gray, who had made five changes already from Tuesday's starting line-up, then forced in to two substitutions before half time, Donovan Wilson and Harry Beautyman both injured and Omar Bugiel and Rob Milsom involved earlier than had been intended.

Ricky Korboa was one of those brought in from the start, and he came close with a volley that hit the side netting after Richie Bennett had knocked down Kizzi's cross, but there was little of note in a disjointed first half except for what proved the decisive moment as Wilkinson ran on to Josh Labadie's pass down the left and crumpled under Kizzi's challenge. U's were horrified when the referee pointed to the spot, and also complained that George Miller, offside when Labadie played the pass, had hampered Ben Goodliffe's attempt to get back in to the penalty area, but their protests were in vain and Wilkinson netted from the spot, choosing to celebrate in front of the Sutton fans as he had at Dagenham three seasons ago after scoring there.

Beautyman had a goalbound volley blocked after an Enzio Boldewijn free kick had been headed across goal by Kizzi, and from another Boldewijn free kick U's suffered more frustration, feeling Kizzi might have been impeded as he attacked the ball at the far post, and that defender Hayden White had cleared the ball out for a corner, only for the referee to award a goal kick.

With the wind behind them in the second half Walsall put U's under more pressure and Wilkinson could have added to his tally, particularly when a poor touch from Nelson as he collected a Goodliffe pass allowed the striker to dispossess him, only for Coby Rowe to come to the rescue with a superb tackle as Wilkinson was about to roll the ball in to an empty net. Wilkisnon also had a header blocked by Bugiel, and saw Nelson make two good saves, and, still in the game, U's created chances of their own in the last ten minutes. Richie Bennett headed wide from a Ben Wyatt cross, and flashed another left foot shot just too high from just inside the penalty area, while David Ajiboye, on for the last half hour, almost took advantage of a slip by Manny Monthe but was thwarted as the imposing defender recovered to challenge successfully inside the penalty area.

Home manager Michael Flynn was booked for his reaction to Kizzi after the U's player had tried to get the ball quickly to take a throw-in, but he was the manager celebrating at the end of a frustrating afternoon for U's.

Sutton: S Nelson,J Kizzi, B Wyatt, C Rowe, B Goodliffe, C Eastmond, E Boldewijn, D Wilson(sub O Bugiel 17), R Bennett, H Beautyman(sub R Milsom 45+4), R Korboa(sub D Ajiboye 63). Subs n/u W Randall, C Dundas, K Kouassi. Booked: Milsom, Wyatt, Eastmond

Walsall: C Rushworth, H White, T Shade, J Labadie, D Daniels, M Monthe, J Earing,  L KInsella, C Wilkinson(sub D Rodney 78), E Osadebe, G Miller. Subs n/u J Rose, S  Ward, B Kiernan, T Leak, S Perry, R Menayese. Booked: Daniels

Referee: Scott Oldham

Attendance: 5,801(230 away)


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