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Walsall 0 Stockport 2 - Report

Walsall's unbeaten run of seven games came to an end when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 at the Bescot Stadium by Stockport.

 Liam Bennett
Liam Bennett

Michael Flynn's men looked a little bit off the pace against a very good Stockport side, who were playing National League football last season but with the investment they have had look like they mean to go places.

The visitors from Cheshire looked dangerous every time they went forward, though the two goals they ultimately won with looked suspiciously easy for Kyle Wootton, who notched both.

The first time on 33 minutes he was given too much time and space to control the ball and slip it past Owen Evans, and similarly on 65 minutes he easily directed a header from Will Collar past the goalkeeper into the corner of the net

When Walsall travelled to Stockport County on the first day of October, only a late Andy Williams goal gave them a point at Edgeley Park in a performance boss Michael Flynn said was ‘awful’.

This was probably better, with the Saddlers more off par than awful against a much improved County outfit who also defended well when they had to.

Stockport were also struggling in the table in October but this victory moved them above the Saddlers and to within two points of the play-offs

And they started the better from the off, Walsall struggling to find their feet in the early exchanges, and cope with in form Collar. Collar in fact came off worse from a great tackle by Walsall skipper Donervon Daniels on five minutes as the striker bore down on goal - both clashed and needed treatment from the respective physios.

They both came back on and Collar continued to look dangerous - he had scored four in two games - latching onto a great diagonal pass into the box by County captain Paddy Madden on ten minutes and forcing Owen Evans into a good save.

Owen Evans lets a goal in

Five minutes later he was at it again as the Walsall defence backed off and he unleashed a shot which Evans again saved well.

Stockport were looking dangerous going forward with Walsall restricted to counter attacks in the first half hour, one of these seeing Tom Knowles through on goal after a clever pass by Manny Monthe but his shot was blocked by Stockport goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe.

But four minutes later the visitors were ahead when defender Akil Wright put a cross over from the right which was controlled by Wooton who seemed to have too much time to bring it down and slip it past Evans.

It sparked Saddlers into life and Tom Knowles found himself with space in the area but instead of hitting it first time tried to work himself a clearer chance and the ball was deflected wide.

Liam Bennett - on possibly the last game of his loan spell from Cambridge - tried a shot from distance that was easily saved but it was Stockport who went closest to the second goal before half time when captain Paddy Madden's header rattled the top of the cross bar and was scrambled away.

Walsall brought Jacob Maddox and Douglas James-Taylor and they had a chance early on which was parried by Hinchliffe and cleared for a corner by the away defence.

Donervon Daniels

Phil Bardsley then went close for Stockport, the former Scotland defender who was making his debut just wide with a measured volley from 20 yards after a defensive clearance.

Evans had to be at his best to thwart Miles Hippolyte on the hour but four minutes later it was two when Wootton directed a header in the box from a Collar cross which Evans - later named man of the match for Walsall, couldn't reach.

Walsall made two substitutions at half time and three more into the second half but it made little difference as they didn't really look like scoring in the second period and Stockport looked increasingly in control of the game.

The Saddlers will have to put this one behind them and go again on Sunday against another team with promotion ambitions in Mansfield.

One person likely to be missing is Danny Johnson against his parent club and the 12 goals forward was shackled well by the Stockport defence, with Flynn given plenty of food for thought before the return FA Cup game at Edgeley Park a week on Sunday.


Walsall (3-4-1-2) Evans; White; Gordon (Maddox 45); Daniels (c); Monthe; Kinsella; Knowles; Earing (James-Taylor 45); Hutchinson (Williams 75); Bennett (Allen 75); Johnson (Wilkinson 62)

Subs not used: Comley; McEntee;

Stockport (3-5-2): Hinchliffe; Wright; Horsfall; Madden (c) (Sarcevic 75); Collar (Crankshaw 85); Johnson (Brown 66); Rydel (Macdonald 75); Croasdale; Wootton; Hippolyte; Bardsley (Lewis 66)

Subs not used: Jones (GK) Barugh;

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