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Walsall 0-1 Oxford - Player ratings

By Liam Keen | Walsall FC | Published:

Liam Keen rates the Walsall players after their 1-0 loss to Oxford United dumped them out of the FA Cup.

Josh Gordon is comforted by a fan after missing a chance

LIAM ROBERTS

Roberts was the Saddlers man of the match, and deservedly so. He was strong in the air and was effective in his distribution. But most of all, he made several excellent saves, including one world class stop from point blank range at the beginning of the second half. 8

SHAY FACEY

Facey is without doubt the club's number one right-back. Both defensively and offensively he works extremely hard. At times he was isolated against the opposition winger and full-back and he was left with little cover from his team-mates. 7

JAMES CLARKE

The return of Clarke from injury was a very welcome one at the time, and he proves to be the club's best defender with consistent performances. Alongside Sadler he had a lot to do in the air against Oxford and he seldom lost his battles. 7

MAT SADLER

Sadler was harshly left out of the starting XI against Stevenage, perhaps being rested as he's now 34-years-old. But by coming back in against Oxford he proved his worth again. Strong in the air, clever on his feet and decisive interceptions made for a good performance. 7

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CALLUM COCKERILL-MOLLETT

The young full-back deservedly kept his place in this game after some impressive displays. He was made to work in this match as he was overloaded by the winger and full-back. Defensively he struggled more due to this and Oxford had some joy down their right. 6

RORY HOLDEN

Holden is usually deployed better in a midfield three, allowing him to effect the game more centrally, rather than out on the wing. He did this at times against Oxford, but the experienced midfield he was up against was far superior at keeping the ball. 6

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ALFIE BATES

Alongside Kinsella and Holden, the midfield struggled at times against a much more experienced opposition. Bates did the simple things well but with Walsall having so little of the ball, he struggled to do what he does best. Plenty to improve but a great prospect. 6

LIAM KINSELLA

It was a scrappy and hard-fought performance from Kinsella, who improved on his 45 minute showing against Stevenage last week. Ideally you want Kinsella to get forward and support the strikers, but an impressive Oxford midfield kept him pegged back. 6

JOSH GORDON

The 25-year-old striker can do it all at the moment, it's amazing what a bit of confidence can do for you. He hasn't scored for three games now, which may be a concern, but he's plugging away and creating chances for his team-mates. 7

CAOLAN LAVERY

Lavery always puts in energetic and hard working performances. Alongside Gordon he helps to create chances for team-mates and is an asset to the team. He hasn't scored for two games now and the club will need more of a goalscoring run from him. 7

RORY GAFFNEY

Gaffney has been rested recently and he certainly needed it. He looked much better in portions of this game and ran the channels well. It was the right call to take him off after 55 minutes, as he may get some game time on Tuesday night. 6

Subs: Guthrie (for Bates 55) 5, Scarr (for Gaffney 55) 6, Adebayo (for Lavery 74) 6.

Subs not used: Rose, Norman, Liddle, McDonald.

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

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