ASFC vs Walsall

League One
vs
13/04/2019
Score: 2 - 1

Match Report

A Ross Sykes double secured Stanley a vital three points against Walsall in the Reds bid for League One survival.

Sykes put the Reds in front at the Wham Stadium with a powerful header into the bottom left corner after 11 minutes, before Nicky Devlin levelled for Walsall ten minutes before half-time.

The Reds pushed for a second goal after the break, and the 20-year-old defender was on hand to hammer home his third league goal of the season in the 69th minute after an intense spell of pressure.

Manager John Coleman named two changes to the side that faced Rochdale in midweek, with Callum Johnson and Sam Finley both called upon to start in place of Scott Brown and Luke Armstrong.

Stanley patiently found their rhythm in an exciting first half and were in front in the 11th minute.

Sean McConville floated a free kick into the box from 40-yards, and Sykes showed pace and power to meet it and head past Liam Roberts to give Stanley the lead.

The Reds could have doubled the lead two minutes later after Walsall switched off from a Stanley throw in to allow Jordan Clark to sprint in, turn and hit a low shot from a narrow angle that was just wide of the right post.

In the 22nd minute McConville raced onto a Billy Kee lay-off, getting into the box and hitting a right-footed shot that was saved by Roberts.

Devlin levelled the contest in the 34th minute after getting into the box and hitting a tame shot that seemed to take a deflection to make it 1-1.

Stanley can feel aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty five minutes later after Johnson appeared to be brought down in the box by Liam Kinsella, but the referee waved away the appeals.

Billy Kee had the ball in the back of the net three minutes before the break, but his header was disallowed and the sides were level at half-time.

The second half began slowly but it was the Reds that had the better chances.

McConville curled a shot inches past the right post in the 66th minute, before Barlaser headed wide at the back post two minutes later.

Stanley were relentless, piling pressure on the Walsall defence and were rewarded with a second goal twenty minutes from time.

After a small scramble inside the visitor’s penalty area, Sykes smashed home his second of the afternoon from close range to put Stanley back in front.

Josh Gordon picked up two yellow cards in the space of two minutes in the game’s final stages, to reduce the visitors to 10 men, but Stanley defended well to pick up a much needed victory.

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