Late goal cruelly ends cup hopes

Last updated : 14 November 2012 By Tony Scholes
Jason Gilchrist scored a late penalty

At 2-0 down at half time we looked out of it, but a Luke Gallagher screamer and a Jason Gilchrist penalty looked to have taken the game to penalties until Walsall scored a late, late winner from a free kick.

The first half was one to forget for Burnley. We fell behind in the tenth minute when Conor Mitchell was unable to reach a cross from the left and the oncoming forward headed home.

Soon after Jamie Frost had our first effort at goal, a snapshot from the edge of the box but overall it was Walsall on top and it came as no surprise when they extended their lead just before the half hour with a powerful shot into the top corner after the forward had cut in from the left.

We found it hard going, created very little, and in truth were probably relieved to come off at half time with just a two goal deficit.

What a different story in the second half. We started well and Nathan Lowe forced the Walsall goalkeeper into a good save with only seven minutes of the half gone. A quick response from the visitors saw Mitchell save well, but it was a rare attack from them in a second half that we dominated.

It needed an early goal and it came in the 54th minute. Walsall hurriedly cleared a Burnley attack but the ball was picked up by Luke Conlan around the half way line. He played the ball forward to Gallagher who unleashed a 25-yarder into the top corner.

We made an immediate switch with Brad Jackson replacing Christian Hill and we started to get on top. The visiting goalkeeper had to be in top form but he was fortunate on a couple of occasions when his defenders scrambled balls clear when he was beaten.

Despite deserving of an equaliser it didn't look as though it was going to come. Then, a ball in found Gilchrist in space. He got in his shot quickly but it went wide. As I bemoaned another chance having gone, the referee unhesitatingly pointed to the spot.

From my vantage point on the half way line I couldn't confirm what it was for but closer spectators confirmed that Gilchrist had been caught as he went to shoot and it was definitely the correct decision.

The leading scorer got up to convert the spot kick with ease and we discussed the possibility of yet another penalty shoot out in this competition.

It was the least we deserved but it wasn't to be as Walsall won a free kick outside the box and, into the fifth minute of stoppage time, hit it into the top corner leaving Mitchell with no chance.

It was cruel. We'd at least deserved to take it to penalties, but there were so many positives to take from the second half performance. But it is time to concentrate on the league now.

The team was: Conor Mitchell, Cameron Dummigan, Charlie Holt, Alex Whitmore, Luke Conlan, Jamie Frost, Nathan Lowe (Luke Daly 80), Luke Gallagher, Christian Hill (Brad Jackson 55), Jason Gilchrist, Lewis Nuttall. Subs not used: Callum Jakovlevs, Kevin Ly, Evan Galvin.