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Walsall 2 Gillingham 0 - Report

There was relief all round at the Bescot Stadium as goals from Isaac Hutchinson and Conor Wilkinson gave Walsall their first win since New Year's Day.

Isaac Hutchinson celebrates
Isaac Hutchinson celebrates

It was no more than the Saddlers' deserved for a good performance where they took the game to their visitors and enjoyed much the better of the chances.

The two goals lifted the mood which had been low with Walsall not scoring in the previous four home games and hopes will now be high of a good run to the end of the season.

Walsall were looking for their first win since January 1 when they beat Mansfield Town.

It was a run that had seen them slip to 14th place in League Two, 11 points off seventh place, still with one game in hand on Salford

Gillingham signed nine players in January and made three loan captures in a bid to lift themselves up the table and started the day in 19th place, nine points away from the relegation zone. Their last game had seen them beat Tranmere 2-0 but in the two fixtures before that had ended goalless


Walsall started well and goalkeeper Glenn Morris had to be on his toes in the first ten minutes.

Almost from the kick off, Liam Kinsella's cross was met by Isaac Hutchinson whose header was tipped over the bar.

Walsall's Andy Williams

Manager Michael Flynn had recently called for his players to shoot more and Brandon Comley did just that on five minutes with his curling effort saved by Morris.

Joe Riley impressed on his full debut against Swindon on Tuesday and on nine minutes cut inside but shot over the bar.

He also saw a free kick punched away by Morris as Walsall tried hard to get the goal their fans were looking for.

Any pressure Gillingham put on was being dealt with well by the Walsall defence although on 34 minutes Tim Dieng put a low ball in which Tom Nichols just failed to connect with.

The half ended with Walsall attacking again though, Andy Williams putting in a shot which again was dealt with well by Morris.

Walsall's Liam Kinsella

After the break the early pattern was similar with Walsall pressing for the breakthrough in front of the home fans and there was massive relief when it did come, on 50 minutes.

Tom Knowles sent Isaac Hutchinson scurrying down the left hand side and he cut in and unleashed a shot which took a deflection off a defender on its way into the net. It was the first goal for the Saddler's in the last five games at Bescot Stadium.

Walsall v Gillingham

Hutchinson could have made it two on 70 minutes when he was played in by Tom Knowles who had made progress down the left nut his shot was blocked by Morris.

The last five minutes were nervy for Walsall as Shaun Williams put a free header straight into the arms of Owen Evans and substitute Dom Jefferies flashed a shot wide.

They almost made it two right on time when substitute Matty Stevens saw his shot take a deflection and almost bounce into the net.

Issac Hutchinson celebrates with Tom Knowles

But deep into injury time, Conor Wilkinson, who had not long come on as substitute, applied a great finish to a chance he had set up for himself by cutting inside and the Bescot Stadium was bouncing again,

Key Points

1 Liam Kinsella's cross just after the kick off is met by Isaac Hutchinson whose header is tipped over by Glenn Morris in the Gillingham goal

34 Timmy Dieng for Gillingham puts a low ball in toward the far post which Tom Nichols just fails to connect with

39 Isaac Hutchinson for Walsall puts the ball through to Andy Williams who shoots but it is pushed behind by Morris

50 GOAL Tom Knowles sent a great ball down the left for Isaac Hutchinson who cut inside and shot, with the ball taking a deflection as it went into the net.

63 Gillingham's Aiden O'Brien chips the ball just over the bar for Gillingham at the second attempt as Walsall fail to clear their lines.

70 Good work by Knowles sees him cut the ball inside for Hutchinson who forced Morris into a save from close range

95 Subsitute Conor Wikinson cuts square inside the box and applies a great finish past Morris to seal the game and the first three points since January 1.


Walsall (4-3-1-2) Evans, Daniels, Monthe, Riley (Songo'o 80), Kinsella, Knowles (Stevens 80), Williams (Wilkinson 70) Comley, Maddox (Low 52) Hutchinson, McEntee

Subs not used: Smith, Gordon, Maher,

Gillingham (4-1-3-2) Morris, Alexander (Abrahams 90), Tutonda (Jefferies 70), Ehmer, Williams, Nichols, Masterson,. Hawkins, Dieng (McKenize 70), O'Brien, Lapslie (MacDonald 57)

Subs not used: Turner, Wright, MacDonald,

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