Match Report: Walsall 1 Macclesfield Town 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League Two clash between Walsall and Macclesfield Town.
Darrell Clarke's Saddlers arrived at this weekend's match on the back of a narrow victory over Port Vale and in search of a third win in four league games as they had seemingly put their recent spell of defeats behind them

Macclesfield got the action underway. The match got off to a bit of a slow start as the two teams took time to settle into it, though Walsall did work their way into shooting range in the fourth minute, with Wesley McDonald firing an effort goal-wards from outside the box,  winning the first corner of the game for his side as the shot was blocked. The flag-kick came to nothing though.

With just eight minutes on the clock, Macclesfield had more luck with a shot from outside the box, as Miles Welch-Hayes found space to fire a low effort into the bottom corner to take an early lead.

The Saddlers won another corner in the eleventh minute, as they looked to respond quickly to falling behind. Macclesfield 'keeper, Owen Evans receiving the first yellow card of the game as he looked to prevent Josh Gordon retrieving the ball for the flag-kick, which when eventually taken, came to nothing.

The Silkmen were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, where Jak McCourt was given far too much time to fire a right-footed effort in from the edge of the area. Thankfully for the Saddlers, his curling effort sailed narrowly wide of Roberts' upright.

The visitors continued to press, calling the Walsall shot-stopper into action in the fourteenth minute, as Welch-Hayes picked out Arthur Gnahoua with a cross from the right. The latter's headed effort lacked power though and Roberts was able to make the save.

Walsall won another corner in the nineteenth minute, which was played short to Gordon, but after seeing his effort blocked, Caolan Lavery guided a follow-up effort wide of the post.

With twenty-two minutes on the clock, Arthur Gnahoua became the second player to see his name entered into the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Mat Sadler.

Four minutes later, Sadler would win another corner for his team, as he latched onto a Danny Guthrie free-kick with a right-footed shot from the centre of the box which was turned behind by the Macclesfield 'keeper. The flag-kick would come to nothing though as Dan Scarr headed wide.

McDonald then went close moments later, with a right-footed effort from outside the box, but his low effort was easily saved by Evans.

Ten minutes before the break, Gnahoua attempted an effort from some distance, but the ball sailed wide of the upright without troubling the Walsall shot-stopper.

The visitors continued to seek a second goal before the interval, and David Fitzpatrick went close in the fortieth minute with a twenty-five yard effort, which sailed inches over the crossbar.

Shortly before half-time, McDonald attempted to put the sides back on level terms, but his dipping effort was easily saved by Evans.

Two minutes were added to end the first-half, as a long ball forwards was met by Gordon who took too long to shoot, allowing the opposition defences time to get back to block the effort. That would be the last action of the half, and the sides headed off, with Macclesfield leading by one-goal-to-nil.

0 - 1

Walsall opted to make a change as the teams returned for the second-half, with Shay Facey being replaced by Cameron Pring as the Stuart Sinclair got the game back underway. The half got off to a rather slow start, with both sides seeing plenty of the ball without troubling their opposition.

With fifty-three minutes on the clock, Gnahoua was presented with the first real chance of the half, but after being put through one-on-one with Roberts, fired high over the bar.

Walsall soon had the ball back at the other end, winning a corner in the fifty-sixth minute, which was played to the back post by Guthrie, but Scarr's headed shot was easily saved by Evans.

Macclesfield went close to doubling their advantage in the fifty-eighth minute as Jay Harris fired goal-wards from distance, but his effort was deflected narrowly over the crossbar.

As we reached the hour mark, the Saddlers also found themselves a little unfortunate not to have scored, as Lavery headed a corner on for Gordon who saw his scrambled effort cleared off the line.

Walsall continued to look for a goal that would draw them level, but Evans was on hand to deny Pring in the sixty-second minute.

With sixty-eight minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Liam Kinsella making way for Elijah Adebayo.

The Saddlers went close again moments after the change, with captain, James Clarke firing narrowly wide from outside the box.

Macclesfield then missed an opportunity to extend their lead, twenty minutes from time, as McCourt fired high and wide from outside the Walsall box.

With seventy-four minutes on the clock, the Saddlers finally found the breakthrough, with McDonald curling a right-footed effort home to tie the scores, after some good work from Pring down the left to set him up.

Walsall almost scored a second goal just two minutes later, but Evans pulled off a superb save in the bottom corner to deny Gordon. Seconds later, Evans was again called into action, turning the ball round the post after a shot deflected off one of his team-mates.

With seventy-nine minutes on the clock, the Silkmen opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Arthur Gnahoua was replaced by Joe Ironside.

The Saddlers continued to press, drawing another fine save from Evans after a Fitzpatrick pack-pass put Adebayo through on goal. The 'keeper recovering well to ensure the scores remained tied.

With eighty-two minutes on the clock, Josh Gordon became the third man to see his name entered into the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Fitzpatrick.

The Saddlers chose to make their third and final change of the afternoon in the eighty-third minute, as Caolan Lavery made way for Rory Gaffney.

The recently introduced Ironside, looked to make his presence felt in the eighty-fourth minute, with a headed pass that looked to have played Corey O'Keeffe in, but the latter's effort from the centre of the box was blocked behind by Scarr. The resulting corner came to nothing, as Harris' effort from outside the box was saved.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, as McCourt saw an effort from outside the box blocked. There was little further action though, and the game ended with the sides sharing the spoils. Not the best afternoon for either side as they both failed to make the most of their chances, but a welcome point nonetheless.

1 - 1
McDonald (74')
Welch-Hayes (8')
Attendance: 3,846 (168)
Referee: James Oldham
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