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Match Report: Barrow 2 Walsall 2

The Saddlers returned to action on Saturday afternoon as they took on Barrow at Holker Street.
Heading into the match on the back of a midweek draw with Bradford City, the Saddlers were looking to both maintain and extend their unbeaten run which stood at twelve league games ahead of kick-off.

Barrow got the match underway, but it was Walsall who created the first chance of the game, as a fifth minute corner, swung in by Alfie Bates found Caolan Lavery in space at the near post, but 'keeper Joel Dixon was well placed to clear the strikers effort.

The home side were quick to create a chance of their own, with a cross in from Luke James reaching Harrison Biggins at the far post, but Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts remained untested as he was unable to keep his effort down.

Just two minutes later, the hosts went close again as Josh Kay set up James on the edge of the box, but the strikers effort sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

Barrow continued to press, forcing a save from Roberts in the fourteenth minute, as Jason Taylor whipped a shot in. Seconds later, the Walsall 'keeper was again called into action as the resulting corner was swung in to James who fired an effort towards the bottom corner.

The Saddlers were eventually able to work the ball up to the other end, as we reached the quarter hour mark, winning a corner as an Emmanuel Osadebe effort was turned behind. The flag-kick coming to nothing.

With twenty minutes on the clock, Michael Jones became the player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for an industrial challenge on Liam Kinsella.

In the twenty-fifth minute, Barrow were awarded a penalty, as Cameron Norman brought Kay down just inside the area. Dior Angus stepped up to take the spot-kick, and made no mistakes, putting his side into the lead.

Just one minute later, Dior Angus found his name being taken by the referee, as he saw yellow for a foul on James Clarke.

There was a brief halt to proceedings as we reached the half hour mark, allowing Roberts to receive medical attention. He was soon back up and able to continue though.

The Saddlers looked to respond to falling a goal behind, and were a little unlucky to see Elijah Adebayo caught offside in the thirty-fourth minute, as Lavery tried to play him in.

There was another pause in play in the thirty-ninth minute, allowing Clarke to receive treatment following a knock. It was soon determined that the Walsall skipper would be unable to continue, and Wes McDonald was brought on in his place.

Walsall continued to search for an equaliser as we raced towards the break, and they almost found one in the forty-second minute, as Adebayo found Lavery, who drove towards goal, before  firing an effort in from twenty yards, only to see his ball sail over the crossbar.

Five additional minutes were added to end an eventful first-half, and just seconds into them the Saddlers drew level, as Adebayo played the ball onto the head of Dan Scarr, who nodded it down for Lavery to tuck home.

Three minutes into the five, there was another stoppage in play, whilst Bradley Barry received treatment for a knock. He was able to continue, and the resulting free-kick saw Matthew Platt head the ball out of play.

That would be the final action of the first-half, and the sides headed off to their respective changing areas with the scores tied at one-goal-apiece.

-
HT
-
BARROW
1 - 1
WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the match back underway. It wasn't long before the visiting side created their first chance of the second-half, as McDonald let fly from distance, but the effort sailed high over the crossbar.

Just five minutes into the half, Barrow's lead was restored, as James fired a looping effort over Roberts and into the top corner.

Two minutes later, Josh Kay became the third player to see yellow, as a foul on Norman earned the midfielder a caution.

With fifty-eight minutes on the clock, the Saddlers found themselves being awarded a penalty after Zak Jules was felled inside the box by Jason Taylor. Lavery stepped forward to take the spot-kick, and duly levelled the scores.

As we reached the hour mark, Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke opted to make his second change of the afternoon, with Alfie Bates making way for Danny Guthrie.

Barrow felt they should have been awarded a second penalty in the sixty-third minute as Angus went down inside the area, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

Caolan Lavery then joined those on a caution as he booked for a foul.

The hosts continued to press, as they looked to restore their lead once more, but Kay's sixty-fourth minute effort sailed high and wide, and the team were unable to make use of a corner won two minutes later.

Sam Hird ensured Walsall would not take the lead in the sixty-sixth minute, as he cut out a cross destined for Lavery after the side launched a counter-attack, which saw McDonald pick up the ball on the halfway line and drive goal-wards.

The game settled a little as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, without creating anything of note.

With seventy-six minutes on the clock, Barrow opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Josh Kay making way for Connor Brown.

The Saddlers also took the opportunity to make their third and final change of the day, as Elijah Adebayo made way for Jake Scrimshaw.

Walsall almost took the lead moments after the changes were made, as Osadebe found his way through on goal before finding the post with a left-footed shot across goal, with the recently introduced Shrimshaw unable to turn the rebound home.

With eighty-four minutes played, Zak Jules joined those on a booking, as he saw yellow for a foul on James.

Five minutes from time, the hosts opted to make a second change to their line-up. Dior Angus sitting out the closing moments of the game as Jayden Reid took his place.

Another five minutes were added to end the game, during which time Barrow chose to make their third and final change of the game, with Harrison Biggins making way for Chris Taylor. The move almost paid dividends seconds after completion, as with his first touch, Taylor headed a Barry cross goal-wards. Fortunately for the Saddlers, the effort landed in Roberts waiting arms.

That was to be the last action of note, as the referee brought the game to it's conclusion with the scores level at two-goals-apiece. Another good point on the road for the Saddlers who are becoming somewhat of a draw specialist.

-
FT
-
BARROW
2 - 2
WALSALL
Angus [P] (25')
James (50')
Lavery (45+1')
Lavery [P] (58')
VENUE
Holker Street
REFEREE
Bobby Madley

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