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Match Reports

REPORT: Walsall 3-2 Sky Blues

Sky Blues knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle...

10 November 2018

The Sky Blues were knocked out of the FA Cup in the first round, as Walsall ran out winners in a thrilling end-to-end fixture at the Banks's Stadium.

The Sky Blues began the game the better team and fashioned the first sight of goal of the afternoon with only three minutes on the clock.

Jordan Shipley stole the ball on the half-way line and mounted a three-on-three attack with support from Jordy Hiwula and Jonson Clarke-Harris. Shipley carried the ball and passed it out wide to Clarke-Harris who cut in from the right, faked a shot and then took a heavy touch to allow the defender in to smash the ball clear.

Minutes later it was Clarke-Harris feeding Jordan Shipley to go one-on-one with Liam Roberts, with multiple defenders trailing behind him. Shipley took a touch and slipped at the last moment before Roberts came out and dived on the ball to relieve any pressure.

With 12 minutes on the clock, the visitors were ahead. A deep cross was delivered to the back post that was picked up by Zeli Ismail. Ismail ran to the byline and back-heeled the ball into the path of Andy Cook who stabbed the ball home from six yards.

Immediately from the restart, Clarke-Harris had the chance to level the scores, but the striker took one touch too many and stretched for his shot that ended up lacking power, and was saved by Roberts.

With 20 minutes on the clock, the Sky Blues should have found themselves level. Determined running from Shipley allowed him to close down centre-back Russell Martin as he was clearing the ball, and the ricochet fell the Irishman's way.

Shipley ran onto the loose ball - which had bobbled into the box - and unleashed a low left-footed shot aimed across the 'keeper and towards the back post, but the ball whistled just wide with Luke Thomas sliding in for any rebounds. 

The home team began to build up a head of steam earning a succession of freekicks around the Sky Blue box. None of the free kicks resulted in a clear-cut chance, but Josh Ginnelly popped up 25-yards from goal and smacked a vicious effort just inches over Lee Burge's goal.

With just under half an hour played, the Sky Blues' deficit doubled as Ginnelly latched onto Jordon Thompson's attempted back-pass and rolled the ball underneath the on-coming Lee Burge and into the back of the net.

The Sky Blues had an uphill battle on their hands and did not waste any time in attempting to mount a fight back, as Jordy Hiwula saw his curling effort fly just wide of Liam Roberts' right-hand post. 

And the comeback was on only five minutes after the Saddlers had doubled their lead. Clarke-Harris capitalised on a slip from Jon Guthrie and calmly slotted the ball underneath the on-rushing Liam Roberts.

As the half was drawing to a close, the Sky Blues were pushing to find the equaliser and great interplay between Hiwula and Shipley saw the ball fed to Luke Thomas on the right wing. Thomas cut in and let an effort fly but his shot was blocked and the danger cleared.

 

HALF-TIME: Walsall 2 - 1 Sky Blues

 

City came out for the second half and immediately took the game to the Saddlers and nearly fashioned a goal-scoring chance within the first couple of minutes.

Neat play between Thomas, Thompson, and Doyle ended up with Shipley spraying a 50-yard ball to Hiwula out on the left, who attacked the full-back and then played in Shipley who superbly followed his pass. The ball was played into the midfielder but his touch ran away from him before he could get his shot off.

City's dominance finally paid off in the 56th minute as Luke Thomas fired a volley underneath the body of the diving Liam Roberts from the edge of the box to level up the scores. 

Before the Saddlers' goal was breached for the second time in the afternoon, City kept the ball brilliantly for the large majority of the second half, patiently waiting for their opening.

The Saddlers were fighting back and with just under half an hour left on the clock, captain George Dobson attacked the Sky Blue defence. He made his way into the City box and went down under the challenge of Jordan Willis and looked for a penalty, but the referee waved play on.

Minutes later, the Sky Blue crossbar was rocking as Andy Cook rose highest in the City penalty area and diverted his header goalward.

The home side had fought their way back into the game and were carving chances out for themselves. Efforts came and went for Josh Gordon and Andy Cook, as did another penalty shout as Gordon went down in the area under the challenge of Jordan Thompson, but the referee waved play on once again much to the home side's dismay.

The home side were pushing for their third goal of the afternoon, and nearly found one but for a goal-line scramble. Guthrie met the incoming freekick at the back post which was denied by Dom Hyam, and then the goal-line scramble ensued which resulted in a freekick for City.

However, Walsall were back in front minutes later as Nicky Devlin ran on to a ball on the right wing and smashed his first-time shot emphatically past Lee Burge and into the top corner. 

Following Walsall's third goal, City found it hard to gather any momentum by way of creating any chances. The home side managed the last 15 minutes of the game well and limited the Sky Blues who failed to muster up an effort on goal for the remainder of the game.

 

FULL-TIME: Walsall 3 - 2 Sky Blues

 

Sky Blues XI: Lee Burge (GK), Jordon Thompson, Jordan Willis, Dom Hyam, Brandon Mason, Michael Doyle (C), Abu Ogogo (71), Jordan Shipley, Luke Thomas (71), Jordy Hiwula (81), Jonson Clarke-Harris

Subs: Liam O'Brien (GK), Jack Grimmer, Jodi Jones (71), Conor Chaplin (81), Junior Brown, Tom Bayliss (71), Amadou Bakayoko

 

Walsall XI: Liam Roberts (GK), Luke Leahy, George Dobson (C), Jon Guthrie, Nicky Devlin, Andy Cook, Zeli Ismail, Josh Ginnelly (90), Liam Kinsella, Josh Gordon, Russell Martin

Subs: Chris Dunn (GK), Kieron Morris (90), Maz Kouhyar, Connor Johnson, Dylan Parker, Connor Ronan, Alfie Bates

 

Yellows: Thomas '56, Mason '75, Martin '76, Cook '87

Goals: Cook '12, Ginnelly '28, Clarke-Harris '33, Thomas '56, Devlin '76

Attendance: 4,760 (2665 Sky Blues)


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