Match Report: Scunthorpe United 1 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Dean Keates' Saddlers and Nick Daws' Scunthorpe United.
Both the Saddlers and Iron arrived at this weekend's match on the back of opening day victories, with the pair registering 2-1 victories over their respective opponents, and were keen to build upon their results as the faced-off at Glanford Park.

Walsall captain, George Dobson, who was deputising for the injured Adam Chambers, got the match under-way but Scunthorpe United soon had the ball, enjoying plenty of early possession, though they were unable to cause the Saddlers defences any problems in the early going. The game continued at a fairly mundane pace, with little early action of note.

Eight minutes in, today’s hosts created the first chance of the match, with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson racing forwards down the left, before crossing the ball to Lee Novak who found himself ahead of his marker, but the Scunthorpe captain was unable to keep his effort on target, firing well over the bar.

The game continued to liven up following the first chance, with Walsall winning a free-kick out on the left-wing in the tenth minute, which Dobson swung in towards the back post, where Iron’s ‘keeper, Rory Watson was on hand to push the ball behind with a fingertip save. Luke Leahy delivered the ball into the box from the corner, but Watson was again on hand to punch clear.

Walsall continued to apply pressure in-front of goal, winning another corner in the thirteenth minute, which was played into the box by Dobson, but Jon Guthrie was denied by the post. The ball then fell to Morgan Ferrier in acres of space in the box, but his left-footed volley sailed well wide of the mark.

The Saddlers continued to dominate, with a sixteenth minute throw-in almost creating an opening goal as Leahy’s long throw into the box was half-cleared only as far as Josh Ginnelly who fired wide a twelve yard effort wide.

The frenetic pace then slowed just a touch, but the hosts began to find their way back into the game, and twenty-two minutes in, they almost created an opener as Jordan Clarke and Stephen Humphreys combined well to create a chance on the edge of the box, with the latter seeing his effort deflected wide. The resulting corner was played long to Borthwick-Jackson who did well to keep the ball in-bounds, before laying it off to Andy Dales who was unlucky not to beat Liam Roberts, with the Walsall shot-stopper pulling off a fabulous flying save to palm the ball clear.

Walsall soon had the ball back at the other end, winning a corner in the twenty-fifth minute, which Leahy swung in, but the Iron’s defensive line stood firm to deny the Saddlers. The hosts attempted to break, but the visitors were quick to win the ball back and launch an attack of their own, with Leahy doing well to find Ferrier, who worked his way into the box before firing a powerful effort goal-wards from close range, but Watson was well-placed to the ball over the bar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Shortly after we passed the half hour mark, the Iron brought Roberts into play again, with Humphreys doing well to create space before firing a left-footed effort goal-wards, but the man in the Walsall goal always looked comfortable getting down well to prevent the low drive finding its target.

With ten minutes of the half still to play, Andy Cook who did well in the box to find enough space to get a shot away, but a deflection off Clarke en-route allowed Watson to easily gather.

The hosts enjoyed a good end to the half, seeing plenty of possession as time ebbed away. With forty minutes on the clock, some good link up play from Novak and George Thomas created a half-chance, but the eventual shot from inside the box was well blocked by the visitors.

With forty-four minutes played, George Dobson became the first player to enter the referee’s notebook, taking one for the team as he picked up a yellow card for a foul which cut out a Scunthorpe break.

One additional minute was played to end the half, during which time Scunthorpe should have taken the lead, as Charlie Goode was found free at the back-post from a corner, but the defender was unable to keep his last-gasp effort on target and the sides headed into the break with the scores still tied.

0 - 0

The sides remained unchanged as they returned for the second half, which George Thomas got under-way. The first real action of the half, saw Scunthorpe take the lead, as just three minutes in, Novak picked up a loose ball in the box and fired an effort into the corner. A little harsh on the Saddlers with the cross from Clarke coming from a seemingly offside position.

Walsall looked to respond quickly, with a delightful cross towards the back post in the fifty-fourth minute, finding Jack Fitzwater in space, but the West Bromwich Albion loannee was unable to keep his headed effort on target as he sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.

The Saddlers continued to press as they looked for a leveller, with Cook unlucky not to get a shot in in the fifty-ninth minute, thanks to some important defensive work from Goode, before, on the hour mark, a superb cross from Leahy played in Ginnelly who drove the ball across the face of goal where Zeli Ismail found himself mere inches away from turning the ball home at the back post.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, the Saddlers again looked likely to draw level as a long throw from Leahy was headed into the path of Guthrie, but the defender was unable to turn the ball home.

In the sixty-fourth minute, Ismail was felled in the box by Matthew Lund and a penalty was awarded. Ismail stepped up to take the spot-kick and fired the ball over Watson, who went the right way but was unable to get to the ball as it sailed into the top corner to bring the sides level.

In the sixty-fifth minute, moments after conceding the penalty, Scunthorpe opted to replace Matthew Lund, with James Horsfield taking his place.

Jon Guthrie became the second player to be shown yellow in the sixty-sixth minute, picking up a booking for dissent as the hosts were awarded a free-kick for a foul. Humphreys took the set-piece but could only find the wall with his effort, before Borthwick-Jackson picked up the loose ball and fired high over the bar from range.

The Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon in the sixty-ninth minute, with Isaiah Osbourne making way for Liam Kinsella.

With twenty minutes still to play, the hosts looked like finding a second with Novak doing well to feed the ball through the middle to Humphreys, but the Saddlers defences stood firm and cleared the ball behind and the resulting corner, saw the ball whipped just over the bar. Moments later, Humphreys got a second chance at goal, but his effort from just outside the box sailed well over the bar without troubling Roberts.

Both Luke Leahy and Jordan Clarke found themselves entering the referee’s notebook in the seventy-third and seventy-fifth minute respectively.

With fifteen minutes of the game remaining, the Saddlers won a corner, which was played short to Ferrier, who worked the ball to Leahy, whose lovely low cross into the box found Ismail whose close range effort was blocked by Clarke. Walsall so close to taking the lead for the first time in the game.

Moments later, Ferrier again found himself in possession as a diverted Ginnelly effort fell to him, but the London born striker was unable to convert from a tight angle.

With seventy-eight minutes on the clock, Scunthorpe opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Jordan Clarke making way for Josh Morris, and two minutes later, they then made their third and final change, with Andy Dales the man to depart early in place of Ryan Colclough.

Walsall really should have taken the lead in the eighty-third minute, as a cross from Ginnelly was diverted onto the underside of the bar by the head of Cook, before the loose ball was picked up by Ferrier who turned the ball wide from inside the six-yard box.

The hosts were awarded a free-kick in the eighty-fourth minute, which Morris played in, but the Saddlers defensive line stood firm to clear the danger. Moments later, Morris and Colclough were again involved in the action, as Morris turned provider, but Roberts was on hand for the Saddlers to turn the ball away.

Walsall made their second change of the afternoon in the eighty-seventh minute, with Josh Ginnelly making way for West Bromwich Albion loanee, Kane Wilson.

In the final of the ninety minutes, the host won a corner, as a long range effort from James Perch was turned behind by Roberts. The ball in from the flag-kick found the head of Burgess, who Roberts was again on hand and held well.

Five additional minutes were added to end the game, though the pace slowed a little as we entered them. With three of the five minutes played, a good cross from the hosts found Borthwick-Jackson, who turned the ball goal-wards, but Walsall had enough cover back to deal with the danger.

The final action of note came by way of a late change to the Saddlers line-up, as Dean Keates opted to introduce the last of his substitutes in the ninety-fifth minute; Morgan Ferrier the man to make way as deadline day signing, Josh Gordon made his first, if short, appearance in a Walsall shirt.

There were no further chances as referee, Dean Whitestone called an end to the action with the sides taking a point a piece from the eventful game.

1 - 1
Novak (48')
Ismail P (64')
Attendance: 4,331
Referee: Dean Whitestone
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