Express & Star

Carabao Cup: Walsall 0 Charlton 1- Report

Walsall were left frustrated as they fell victim to a controversial refereeing call and exited the Carabao Cup at the hands of Charlton Athletic.


The Saddlers were out to grab a spot in the competitions's third round for the first time since 2015/16 – when they faced Jose Mourinho's Chelsea on a memorable night at Bescot.

Michael Flynn's charges gave a solid account of themselves against League One opposition as well but looked to have a goal wrongly disallowed in the first half before the Addicks struck after the break.

Andy Williams converted from close range and appeared to use his chest to guide the ball home, but he was instead deemed to have handled it and shown a yellow card.

Walsall would continue to plug away as they aimed to get one over on Ben Garner, who guided Swindon Town to three victories over the Saddlers last season before making the switch to The Valley.

The visitors had the final say, though, as Diallang Jaiyesimi finished ruthlessly and knocked Flynn's men out.


After gruelling away trips to both Barrow and Gillingham, Walsall took the opportunity to rotate for this cup clash.

There were five changes from the goalless draw at the latter in League Two as Timmy Abraham, Isaac Hutchinson, Jack Earing, Liam Bennett and Taylor Allen came into the side.

Ronan Maher – who signed his first professional contract last week – also made it back-to-back starts for the first time in his young career.

Charlton, meanwhile, had an ex-Saddler in their XI in centre-half Eoghan O'Connell, while two more were on the bench in Craig MacGillivray and George Dobson.

Walsall's system was difficult to keep track of in the opening stages given Abraham regularly switched flanks and then had spells through the middle.

Abraham's frequent movement even prompted boss Flynn to ask him where he was going at one point, having got in Bennett's way as the full-backed aimed to drive forward.

The energetic Bennett was having a fair amount of joy on the right flank, with the Saddlers testing visiting keeper Joe Wollacott a couple of times early on.

Williams saw a left-footed effort stopped while Hutchinson saw a similar attempt from outside the area gathered.

Charlton regularly fed the ball to tricky winger Jaiyesimi, but Walsall were doing a pretty good job of containing him.

The hosts looked the more convincing outfit and went close again as Manny Monthe – up for a set piece – saw a shot deflect narrowly wide. Allen was not too far away with a long-range strike minutes beforehand either.

The Addicks offered up a warning as Jaiyesimi headed past the far post, but the Saddlers remained the better side. They very nearly had a goal to show for it as well.

Williams bundled home Allen's cut-back and was adamant he finished off the cross with his chest.

Referee Ollie Yates, however, took a different view and despite a noticeable lack of appeals from the Charlton players and no signal from the assistant referee, he opted to book the striker for handball.

Williams was left perplexed, with Walsall denied what appeared to be a perfectly fine goal.

The Saddlers did not let their heads drop and began the second period with similar vigour. The Addicks began to grow into it as well, though.

A goal-bound strike from Jaiyesimi was denied by Donervon Daniels' brilliant sliding block, but there was no stopping their next effort.

Miles Leaburn's through-ball found the persistent Jaiyesimi, and having finally been afforded a yard of space, he took full advantage by confidently firing the ball into the bottom corner.

Walsall's frustrations rose with that opening goal and another few decisions seeming to go against them.

Looking to get back into the tie, they threw on red-hot striker Danny Johnson and fans' favourite Liam Kinsella shortly after the hour mark.

The former was not far from making an immediate impact on proceedings either as his quick shot on the swivel deflected out for a corner.

Determined to keep their hopes of landing a plum third-round tie alive, another two changes soon arrived as Flynn Clarke and Hayden White entered the fray for the final quarter of an hour.

Charlton were quite happy with what they had while the Saddlers needed to increase the tempo to take it into extra time.

The home side's final throw of the dice saw Douglas James-Taylor replace Earing.

Knowles rolled one agonisingly wide before the final whistle was blown and, ultimately, the wait for a mouth-watering cup occasion goes on despite their best efforts.


Walsall (4-1-2-1-2): Evans; Bennett, Daniels, Monthe, Allen; Earing (James-Taylor, 85); Hutchinson (F Clarke, 74), Knowles; Maher (Kinsella, 65); Williams (Johnson, 65), Abraham (White, 74)

Subs not used: Przybek (gk), P Clarke, Comley

Charlton (4-3-3): Wollacott; Ness, Lavelle, O'Connell (Inniss, 61), Chin (Clare, 81); Morgan (Kirk, 61), Henry (Dobson, 85), Forster-Caskey; Jaiyesimi (Rak-Sakyi, 81), Leaburn, Payne

Subs not used: MacGillivray (gk), Stockley, Fraser, Williams

Goal: Jaiyesimi (57)

Attendance: 2,954 (367 Charlton fans)

Referee: Ollie Yates