Express & Star

Bradford 2-1 Walsall - Report

Walsall have now lost four on the bounce across all competitions after profligate finishing cost them dearly at Bradford City.


The Saddlers had a succession of opportunities at a raucous Valley Parade including a Danny Johnson penalty that was saved shortly after kick-off.

They continued to dominate during the first half but spurned a succession of chances before the Bantams made them pay.

Andy Cook tucked away their first meaningful effort while Jake Young also got on the scoresheet before the break, giving them a 2-0 lead at the interval.

Donervon Daniels' second-half reply was followed by another spell of pressure but a leveller would prove elusive for Michael Flynn's men.

Danny Johnson misses his penalty

Walsall can certainly take heart from the performance, with it probably being the best display since the 4-0 opening-day triumph against Hartlepool United.

But taking that into account, it just makes the lack of ruthlessness all the more annoying.

It is now seven games without a win for the Saddlers.


Walsall made one change from their previous league outing – the 2-1 loss to Grimsby Town – as Hayden White replaced Jack Earing.

It was a defensive-minded starting XI, with Flynn's men aiming to stop their mini slump.

Usual full-backs Liam Bennett and Taylor Allen had been pushed further forward into midfield while White and Manny Monthe were on either side in a four-man defence.

Bradford, meanwhile, had former Saddlers striker Cook leading the line. Villa loanee Tyreik Wright – who previously had a short spell at Bescot – was on the hosts' bench.

Walsall had the opportunity to make a dream start and quickly silence the rowdy home crowd.

A fine piece of skill saw Tom Knowles nutmeg Romoney Crichlow and spin past the defender, who then barged over the Saddlers' No.10 for a clear penalty two minutes in.

Johnson stepped up with the aim of making it eight goals already for the club but saw his left-footed spot kick convincingly denied by Harry Lewis.

Walsall continued to ask questions of the Bantams' backline early on as Johnson saw a deflected strike stopped by Lewis.

From a corner, Peter Clarke nodded the ball across goal to defensive partner Daniels, whose header was blocked.

Bradford had Scott Banks send a long-range attempt wide of the far post and, to their credit, the Saddlers were doing a solid job of frustrating the home side.

Knowles looked lively as they looked to spring swift counter-attacks, although his end product lacked quality.

The Valley Parade faithful got increasingly agitated as the half progressed.

Walsall's Taylor Allen

Walsall were by far the better side but just could not get the goal to show for it.

They had a golden opportunity as Monthe's inviting cross from the left found Knowles, whose scuffed shot was sharply kept out by Lewis.

On another day, the Saddlers could have been out of sight and their failure to convert those chances would come back to haunt them in a big way.

The Bantams would punish Walsall's wastefulness by grabbing not one but two goals before half-time.

Cook got the first against the run of play as he clinically tucked away Brad Halliday's cross from the byline.

Young rubbed salt into the wounds, doubling their advantage by finding the far with a curling effort from 20 yards.

Walsall defender Manny Monthe..

Flynn would have been incensed with that turn of events and responded by throwing caution to the wind for the beginning of the second period.

White and Clarke were both brought off and replaced by deadline day signing Danny Cashman and fellow forward Andy Williams.

The Saddlers continued to apply pressure and had Williams head into the hands of Lewis before skipper Daniels finally put one of their chances away.

A ball into the box was controlled by Monthe, with Daniels pouncing and sending a deft toe-poke into the bottom corner, beyond the outstretched Lewis.

The clash would soon become very stretched as Walsall committed bodies forward in search of an equaliser.

SPORT COPYRIGHT TIM STURGESS EXPRESS AND STAR...... 03/09/2022..... Bradford v Walsall. Pictured, Taylor Allen....

Isaac Hutchinson came on for Liam Kinsella and saw a low shot blocked before Daniels dragged another wide of the near post. Allen had a looping volley tipped wide by Lewis as well.

The Saddlers made their five permitted substitutions as Timmy Abraham and Ronan Maher also came on while they continued to push up the pitch as much as possible.

A goal at either end seemed inevitable given how frantic things had become but, ultimately, a tense final few minutes saw Bradford hold on for the victory. Walsall will be kicking themselves.


Walsall (4-4-2): Evans; White, Daniels (c), P Clarke (Williams, 46), Monthe; Bennett (Abraham, 82), Kinsella (Hutchinson, 75), Comley, Allen; Knowles (Maher, 90), Johnson

Subs not used: Przybek (gk), Earing

Goal: Daniels (57)

Bradford (4-2-3-1): Lewis; Halliday, Platt, Crichlow, Ridehalgh; Smallwood (c), Sutton (Songo'o, 79); Banks (Wright, 66), Chapman (Oliver, 75), Young (Pereira, 66); Cook (Harratt, 75)

Subs not used: Doyle (gk), East

Goals: Cook (42), Young (45)

Attendance: 16,433 (499 Walsall fans)

Referee: Marc Edwards