Match Report: Walsall 0 Newport County 0

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League Two clash between Walsall and Newport County.
Darrell Clarke's Saddlers arrived at the match on the back of a disappointing defeat to Crewe Alexandra as Eddie Nolan's goal proved to be enough to secure the win for the Railwaymen.

The gaffer was keen for his side to continue to work hard at the training ground as there are several tactical issues yet to be ironed out, some of which were very evident at the weekend.

Tuesday's match was a welcome opportunity for the Saddlers to get back to the Banks's and once again play in front of the faithful as the new look team continues to gel.

The match got off to a rather slow start, with both teams taking time to settle into the game. With nine minutes on the clock, Walsall created the first chance of the evening, after winning a free-kick on the half-way line thanks to a foul by Ryan Haynes on James Clarke. The ball forward was chested down by Elijah Adebayo for Caolan Lavery, but the latter fired a tame effort into the waiting arms of Newport County 'keeper, Tom King.

Just thirteen minutes into the contest, Cameron Norman became the first player to enter the referee's notebook, picking up an early yellow card for a foul on Mark O'Brien, with a brief pause in proceedings following whilst the County man received treatment, though he was soon up and able to continue.

The Saddlers began to grow into the game, with Clarke doing well to get the ball to James Hardy in the fourteenth minute, but the latter's teasing ball in was turned out of play by Robbie Willmott ahead of any waiting Saddlers, and the flag-kick came to nothing as O'Brien cleared.

Liam Roberts was called into action in the twenty-first minute, as Newport created their first opening of the night. Jamille Matt firing a low driven effort goal-wards, though the shot was comfortably saved by the Walsall shot-stopper.

The hosts were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, with James Hardy putting on a display to beat two defenders before firing a low, eighteen yard effort sailing narrowly wide of the upright.

There was another pause in proceedings in the twenty-sixth minute to allow Norman and Josh Sheehan to receive treatment following a clash of heads. Both players were soon fixed up and able to resume.

The visiting side won their first corner of the evening in the twenty-eighth minute, as a headed effort from Matt was deflected behind by Dan Scarr, but they were unable to make use of the flag-kick as O'Brien's effort was turned behind by a deflection off one of his team-mates.

Thirty-two minutes in, Ryan Haynes joined Norman in the referee's notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul which led to Walsall wasting a free-kick.

Ten minutes from time, the Saddlers saw another chance wasted as some good build-up play from Hardy set Norman up on the edge of the box, but the midfielders effort sailed narrowly wide.

Forty minutes in, the ground rang with applause as supporters honoured the memory of long serving travel secretary, Royston Randle.

The visiting side won a corner, which was swung in as three additional minutes were shown to have been added. The flag-kick found Haynes who tried his luck from twenty-five yards, but the Saddlers defences blocked the shot and cleared the danger.

That would be the last real action of the first-half, with the sides heading down the tunnel for their refreshments with the scores tied as they had been at the sound of the opening whistle.

0 - 0

Newport opted to make their first change of the evening as the sides returned for the second-half, with club captain, Joss Labadie sitting out the second forty-five minutes in favour of Taylor Maloney, as the action got back underway.

The Saddlers began the half brightly, winning a corner just two minutes in as a cross from Norman was deflected behind. Norman swung the ball in from the flag-kick, with Scarr rising highest to meet it, but his headed effort sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, without troubling the County defences.

Walsall continued to look the brighter side as the half continued, with Liam Kinsella going close in the fifty-seventh minute as he looked to latch onto a through ball from Lavery, but King raced off his line to get there just ahead of the midfielder.

There was then another stoppage in play, as a collision caused O'Brien to require treatment, though he was soon up and able to continue.

The Saddlers opted to make their first change of the evening in the sixty-first minute as Caolan Lavery made way for Josh Gordon.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, Tristan Abrahams became the third player to see yellow, as he picked up a caution for a foul on Clarke.

Three minutes later, Josh Sheehan joined him in the book, picking up a yellow card for kicking the ball away.

The rash of yellows continued, with Liam Kinsella picking up a caution just a minute after Sheehan's. The midfielder being booked for a foul which lead to the visiting side receiving a free-kick out by the corner flag. The ball in from the set-piece fell to Abrahams, who fired a left-footed effort high and wide.

Newport continued to enjoy a brighter spell following the free-kick, with Scarr doing well to turn a Dan McNamara cross away, before two further efforts were blocked. Moments later, Matt went close with a tame shot which ultimately sailed wide from the edge of the area.

The hosts soon had the ball back up at the other end though, where Stuart Sinclair went close with a cross-come-shot, which sailed narrowly wide of King's upright.

The visitors then won a corner, which Haynes swung into the box, where it was flicked on for Matt who was waiting, but the strikers headed effort sailed over from close range. Newport continued to enjoy a good spell of possession as they looked to build momentum, but the move was eventually brought to a premature halt as Haynes was flagged offside as McNamara tried to feed him a through ball.

There was another short pause in proceedings in the eighty-fourth minute, whilst Adebayo and O'Brien received treatment following a clash of heads, but both were soon patched up and able to continue.

With eighty-five minutes played, Darrell Clarke opted to make a second change to his line-up, with James Hardy making way for former Everton man, Jack Kiersey.

Two minutes from time, Kyle Howkins became the fourth Newport man to find his name entered into the referee's notebook after throwing the ball away when Walsall were awarded a free-kick, which ultimately came to nothing.

Four additional minutes were added to end the evening's action, but both sides had to settle for taking a point from the game, as neither was able to create a late scoring chance, though Roberts was called upon to make a late save to prevent an Abraham cross meeting another Newport player.

That would be the last action of a fairly uneventful evening though and the sides shared the spoils. Always good to add points to the board early in the campaign, but a poor display overall, with few real chances and none of those being taken.

0 - 0

Attendance: 4,337
Referee: Darren Handley
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