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Match Report: Mansfield Town 1 Walsall 1

The Saddlers were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they made the short trip to Field Mill.
Heading into the match on the back of their first defeat of the campaign, a two-nil loss at the hands of Cambridge United, the Saddlers were looking to return to winning ways as they took on surprise relegation candidates Mansfield Town.

Following a minutes silence, Mansfield Town got the game underway, but it was Walsall who almost opened the scoring with just one minute on the clock, as Wesley McDonald crossed towards the far post for Elijah Adebayo, who was inches from making a connection.

The hosts soon had the ball up at the other end, with Kellan Gordon doing well to beat his man, before crossing a promising ball in for Andy Cook, but the Saddlers defences were alert to the danger and cleared ahead of the striker.

With just six minutes on the clock, Adebayo put the ball past Town 'keeper, Marek Stech, but the goal was chalked off as he was adjudged to have been in an offside position.

Mansfield began to see more of the ball as the game continued, though much of the play was confined to the midfield area, though thirteen minutes in, they were able to create an opening, as George Maris found space to fire goal-wards from distance, but his effort sailed well wide of the upright.

The Saddlers would soon have the ball back up at the other end though, and they should have opened the scoring, as a delightful low cross from McDonald picked out Emmanuel Osadebe in space, but Stech pulled off a fine save to deny them.

Town offered Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts his first test of the afternoon in the twenty-first minute, as a free-kick was crossed into the area by Stephen McLaughlin, but the man between the sticks was first to it.

The hosts continued to enjoy a bright spell, with Nicky Maynard forcing to make another save five minutes later, with a shot from distance.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the twenty-eighth minute, whilst one of the Mansfield contingent received treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and play resumed.

Mansfield continued to look the brighter of the two sides, and thirty-three minutes in, they found the breakthrough. A scuffed effort from George Lapslie, following a half-cleared corner, finding Maynard in behind the Walsall defences, allowing the striker an easy tap in.

The Saddlers were given an opportunity to respond, just four minutes later, as they won a free-kick in a dangerous position, but Stech made light work of saving McDonald's direct effort.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time, Mansfield were presented with a chance to double their advantage as a free-kick was awarded in a dangerous spot, but the side were unable to make use of the opportunity, and the half-time whistle sounded with the home side still leading by one-goal-to-nil.

-
HT
-
STAGS
1 - 0
SADDLERS

The sides returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the game back underway. It took the visitors just four minutes of the half to level the scores, as McDonald and George Nurse combined well to tee up Adebayo, who slipped the ball home.

Five minutes into the half, Hayden White became the first player to see his name taken by the referee, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on McLaughlin.

With fifty-two minutes on the clock, the Saddlers were forced to make their first change of the afternoon, as an injury to Danny Guthrie led to Liam Kinsella taking his place.

Moments after the change, the home side almost reinstated their earlier lead, from a free-kick, but Maynard's effort sailed inches wide.

The Saddlers soon had the ball back at the other end, where a long-range, right-footed shot from McDonald was well saved by Stech.

The end-to-end action continued, with Roberts forced to make a fifty-seventh minute stop to deny Jamie Reid a free shot from an in-swinging McLaughlin cross.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, James Perch joined White in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Rory Holden.

Three minutes later, Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke opted to make his second change of the afternoon. Hayden White the man to make way as Cameron Norman took to the field.

The hosts probably should have scored in the sixty-seventh minute, as Maynard missed a chance from six yards, before Harry Charsley picked up the ball on the edge of the area and drew a superb save from Roberts.

Twenty minutes from time, the Saddlers opted to make their third and final change of the game, as Stuart Sinclair made way for Caolan Lavery.

The Stags continued to look the more likely side to score as the match wore on, with Reid seeing an effort from the edge of the area, trickle wide of Roberts upright in the seventy-second minute, following some good work from Cook to feed the ball through to him.

Fifteen minutes from time, the home side opted to make their first change of the game, with Andy Cook making way for Jordan Bowery.

The Saddlers began to see more of the ball as the game entered the final quarter of an hour, with McDonald firing wide, shortly before Holden picked out Lavery at the back post, with the striker turning the ball into the side-netting.

With ten minutes of play remaining, Nicky Maynard joined those on a caution, as he saw yellow for a foul on Kinsella.

The pace slowed a little as we neared the end, but Kinsella almost secured all three points for the Saddlers in the eighty-seventh minute, with a twenty-five effort which Stech did well to parry.

Four minutes were added to end the game, during which time, the Saddlers should have scored as a free-kick was headed down by Dan Scarr, into the path of Osadebe, who was unlucky to find only the crossbar with his effort from the edge of the box.

Two minutes into added time, Caolan Lavery picked up a yellow card for a foul on Gordon, but the hosts were unable to make anything of the resulting free-kick, and the final whistle eventually sounded with the scores tied at one-goal-apiece.

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FT
-
STAGS
1 - 1
SADDLERS
Maynard (33')
Adebayo (49')
VENUE
Field Mill
REFEREE
Alan Young

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