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Match Report: Harrogate Town 2 Walsall 2

The Saddlers were back in action on Saturday afternoon.
After opening their campaign with a 1-0 win over Grimsby Town, the Saddlers made the trip to Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium where they took on recently-promoted Harrogate Town, who also opened their campaign with a win.

Walsall got the first half underway, and the side started brightly, with Josh Gordon playing a lovely cross in for Elijah Adebayo just three minutes in, with Harrogate Town's goalkeeper, Joe Cracknell, doing well to turn the strikers effort behind.

Alfie Bates played the resulting corner short to Rory Holden, who fired a powerful effort into the bottom corner from outside the area to put the Saddlers a goal to the good, just four minutes into the contest. Walsall continued to press, but Dan Scarr was unable to keep his seventh minute effort on target.

Town soon had the ball up at the other end, but Mark Beck's headed effort from a Warren Burrell cross rattled the crossbar and the Saddlers advantage remained intact.

Walsall were quick to get back on the attack, with Gordon crossing another good ball in for Adebayo in the twelfth minute; the striker once again calling Cracknell into action, but this time the side were unable to make the most of the resulting corner.

Town began to grow more into the game as time ticked on, but they saw efforts from both Aaron Martin and George Thomson blocked in quick succession, as the Saddlers defences stood firm.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with a series of fouls and free-kicks ensuring little in the way of goalmouth action was possible for either side.

However, with thirty-two minutes on the clock, the hosts found a way through, thanks to some good work from Jack Muldoon and Martin tapped home a Ryan Fallowfield cross from close range to draw his side level.

There was a brief pause in play ten minutes before the scheduled break, whilst Holden received treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

The home side continued to look the brighter of the two teams as we raced towards the break, and they almost doubled their tally in the fortieth minute, but Beck's effort sailed narrowly wide.

Just two minutes later, Harrogate did take the lead, as a long ball was headed down to the feet of Muldoon who turned the ball home.

Two minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time, Scarr saw a headed effort tipped over the bar by Cracknell, with the resulting corner coming to nothing. That was the last action before the break though, and the home side took a one-goal advantage into the interval.

TOWN
HT
WALSALL
TOWN
2 - 1
WALSALL

The two sides returned unchanged following the break, and Harrogate got the second-half underway. The home team started the half brightly, winning a corner just moments in, but the Saddlers defences ensured nothing would come of it.

Town continued to press, seeing a Muldoon effort from outside the box saved, just three minutes in.

The Saddlers were soon able to work the ball up to the other end though, winning a corner for their efforts, which Holden swung into the box for Scarr, whose headed effort sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

Town were quick to get the ball back into the danger zone at the other end, winning a couple of corners in quick succession as the Saddlers were called upon to block their efforts.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make the first change of the afternoon, with Alfie Bates making way for Danny Guthrie.

The end-to-end action continued, with the Saddlers winning a corner shortly after the change, as Fallowfield turned the ball out of play, but the hosts stood firm in defence and the flag-kick came to nothing.

Just four minutes after entering the fray, Danny Guthrie became the first player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Josh Falkingham. The hosts felt he should have seen red.

The Saddlers continued to look the more likely to score as the game continued, but Adebayo's sixty-second minute effort clipped the post from a tight angle, and his side remained behind.

The pace slowed a little as the match continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, with neither able to create anything to test their opposition.

With seventy-one minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make a second change to their line-up, as Elijah Adebayo made way for Caolan Lavery. Harrogate also took the opportunity to make their first change of the afternoon, with Mark Beck making way for Jon Stead.

Shortly after the changes were completed, the Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty due to a handball in the Harrogate box, however the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

Unperturbed, the Saddlers continued to press, and went close in the seventy-fifth minute, as Lavery squared the ball to Holden, whose effort was easily gathered by Cracknell.

Ten minutes from time, the Saddlers were awarded a penalty, thanks to a Connor Hall foul in the area. Gordon stepped up to take the spot-kick, and after seeing Cracknell save his initial effort, the striker coolly tapped home the rebound to level the scores.

Following the goal, Walsall opted to make their third and final substitution of the game, with Rory Holden asked to make way for Emmanuel Osadebe.

In the eighty-sixth minute, Danny Guthrie was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Lloyd Kerry, and was therefore dismissed. Fortunately, for the Saddlers, the resulting free-kick was blocked and they were not further penalised.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, and three minutes into them, Ryan Fallowfield became only the second player to see yellow, as he was booked for a foul on Wes McDonald. That would be the final action of the match though, as the two in-form sides cancelled each other out to take away a point apiece.

TOWN
FT
WALSALL
TOWN
2 - 2
WALSALL
Martin (32')
Muldoon (42')
Holden (4)
Gordon (81')
VENUE
Keepmoat Stadium
REFEREE
James ADCOCK

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