Match Report: Walsall 2 Port Vale 2

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League Two clash between Walsall and Port Vale.
Arriving at the match on the back of last weekend's welcome win over Northampton Town, Walsall manager Darrell Clarke opted to make four changes to his team as they welcomed Port Vale to Banks's Stadium.

Port Vale got the match underway, and the side went on to win the first corner of the game just two minutes in, as Mat Sadler turned the ball behind, but the Walsall defences stood firm and cleared the danger.

Walsall soon had the ball up at the other end, where they won a free-kick in a dangerous position in the fifth minute. The ball in from Rory Holden found Josh Gordon, but the strikers flick on evaded everyone and sailed out of play.

Two minutes later, the Saddlers were again awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, thanks to a foul on Holden, who would whip the ball into the box, where it was claimed by a quick thinking Scott Brown.

With just twelve minutes on the clock, Port Vale captain, Luke Legge, fired his side into the lead as he turned home a corner.

Walsall produced an immediate response to falling a goal behind, with Holden firing goal-wards from the edge of the box in the fifteenth minute, with Elijah Adebayo turning the ball home after Brown spilled.

The Saddlers continued to press, and almost took the lead twenty minutes in, but Wesley McDonald's curling effort on goal sailed narrowly over the crossbar.

The early pace settled as the game continued, with both sides seeing plenty of the ball without creating much to test their opposition, though Adebayo did force Brown off his line to save half an hour in.

Ten minutes from time, Walsall won a corner, which Vale half cleared, as far as Gordon, who fired an effort over the crossbar.

Seconds later, the visitors had more luck at the other end, as a Scott Burgess shot took a huge deflection, wrong-footing Jack Rose in the Walsall goal and finding it's way into the back of the net to put Vale back ahead.

The game settled again after the goal, and after one uneventful additional minute was played, the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with Port Vale leading by two-goals-to-one at the break.

1 - 2

The sides returned unchanged following the interval, and Walsall got the second-half underway. The Saddlers began the half brightly, with Shay Facey and Holden combining moments after the re-start to play in Gordon, but Brown was alert in the Vale goal and made the save.

Rose had a save to make at the other end just four minutes later as Conlon forced the Walsall man to tip the ball behind for a corner, which was played in by Worrall and turned wide by Shaun Brisley.

The Saddlers were soon on the attack again, but a fifty-third minute Adebayo cross went begging as none of his teammates was able to get a touch on it. Holden soon had the ball in shooting range again, but fired wide.

With fifty-eighth minutes on the clock, Walsall drew level for a second time, as a delightful cross across the box from Adebayo was turned home by Gordon.

As we reached the hour mark, the Saddlers almost took the lead as a mistake from Legge allowed Adebayo to cross the ball in for Holden, but the Bristol City loanee turned his effort narrowly wide.

With sixty-four minutes on the clock, Port Vale opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Rhys Browne making way for David Amoo.

Moments after the Vale change, the Saddlers should have taken the lead as Gordon played the ball to Adebayo in the box, but Brown was well placed to stop the effort fractions short of the line.

Sixty-six minutes in, Vale opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Tom Conlon the man to depart as Emmanuel Oyeleke entered the fray.

The Saddlers continued to look the more likely to score as the match continued, with both Liam Kinsella and Sadler seeing chances go begging.

Seventy-two minutes in, Walsall should again have taken the lead, as some superb link-up play from Holden and McDonald saw the latter with a clear shot from the edge of the area, but his effort sailed inches wide of the upright when he really should have scored.

With seventy-three minutes played, the visiting side opted to make their final change of the afternoon, with Mark Cullen making way for Tom Pope.

Three minutes later, cramp forced the Saddlers to make a change to their line-up too, with Josh Gordon unable to continue and Caolan Lavery taking his place.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball without troubling their opposition defences, but eighty-two minutes in, a curling effort from Lavery did force Brown to make a save.

Rose was called into action, at the other end, in the eighty-seventh minute, but the shot-stopper was well placed and saved a point-blank effort from Worrall with his leg.

With eighty-eight minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make a second change, with Danny Guthrie departing in favour of Stuart Sinclair.

Four minutes were added to end the match, during which time the visitors won a corner, which was cleared by the Walsall defences, but that would be the last real action of the game and the referee brought a halt to the contest with the sides taking a point apiece.

2 - 2
Adebayo (15')
Gordon (58')
Legge (12')
Burgess (36')
ATT: 6,301 (2,307)
REF: Anthony Backhouse
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