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17/10/2020

Match Report: Walsall 0 Exeter City 0

The Saddlers' busy schedule continued with another League Two clash on Saturday afternoon.
Heading into the match on the back of their midweek win over Leyton Orient, Darrell Clarke's Saddlers were looking to maintain their unbeaten start as they welcomed Exeter City to Banks's Stadium.

Exeter City got the match underway, and the visitors began the game on the front foot, looking to get through on goal just two minutes in, though an infringement of the offside rule ensured that that could not happen.

The visiting side continued to press as the two teams settled into the contest, and saw their first shot on goal just four minutes in, but Alex Fisher's effort from outside the box sailed wide of the upright, without troubling the man between the sticks.

It wasn't long before Walsall had the ball at the other end, where they won the games first corner as Jake Taylor deflected Wes McDonald's seventh minute effort behind. The flag-kick coming to nothing.

With ten minutes on the clock, the hosts should probably have taken the lead, as a McDonald cross from the left was turned goal-wards by Emmanuel Osadebe, but the Irishman's side-footed effort trickled narrowly wide.

Both sides enjoyed spells of possession as the match continued, with Exeter a little unlucky to see a good cross go to waste in the thirteenth minute, before Elijah Adebayo saw a goal-scoring opportunity denied by a pacy Pierce Sweeney four minutes later.

With twenty minutes played, City saw another cross played across the box, but Dan Scarr was quick to the ball to clear, and moments later, back at the other end, Adebayo dragged an effort wide.

The visiting side soon had the ball back in the Walsall area, where the ball fell to Fisher, whose headed effort took a slight deflection off Scarr to send it over the crossbar. The resulting corner coming to nothing.

The end-to-end action continued, with Osadebe caught in an offside position in the twenty-sixth minute, as he looked to latch onto a Liam Roberts through ball.

The Saddlers won a corner in the thirty-first minute, as Tom Parkes turned the ball out of play. The ball fell to Liam Kinsella outside the box, and the midfielder fired his effort high and wide.

Walsall continued to look the brighter of the two teams, with Adebayo caught offside in the thirty-third minute as Osadebe attempted to play him in.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the thirty-seventh minute, allowing Adebayo to receive treatment after a knock to the head, but the striker was soon back up and able to continue.

Four minutes before the break, a good move from Josh Key played Fisher in, but the striker's effort on goal was played straight into the waiting arms of Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to create anything further of note, and the teams headed off to their respective changing areas with the scores still tied.

-
HT
-
WALSALL
0 - 0
EXETER

The two sides returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. It was the visiting side who enjoyed the brighter opening to the second-half, with Matt Jay firing at Roberts just two minutes in.

The Saddlers were soon back in possession though, with McDonald forcing a save from City 'keeper, Lewis Ward in the forty-eighth minute.

The second-half continued largely as the first had left off, with end-to-end action as both sides looked for an opening goal. City winning a corner just five minutes in, which the Walsall defences were able to deal with. The Saddlers winning a corner themselves just two minutes later, as Parkes was forced to turn the ball out of play, but that also came to nothing.

The Saddlers continued to look a threat, with Roberts again trying the through ball for Osadebe in the fifty-third minute, but the Irishman was once more caught in an offside position.

A series of fouls and free-kicks followed as the game descended into something of a midfield battle.

As we reached the hour mark, Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke opted to make the first of his three permitted changes, with Stuart Sinclair making way for Danny Guthrie.

Pierce Sweeney became the first player to see his name taken, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Adebayo in the sixty-first minute.

The Saddlers went close moments later, as Scarr headed the ball into the path of James Clarke, but the Walsall captain was unable to beat the City shot-stopper, who did well to catch the effort.

Exeter were soon back on the attack themselves, but after some good work from Jay, Key was unable to direct his effort goal-wards. Seconds later, the visitors were presented with another chance on goal, but Jay's shot could only find the side-netting.

With twenty minutes still to play, the Saddlers opted to make their second change of the afternoon; Emmanuel Osadebe being replaced by Caolan Lavery.

Moments after his introduction into the game, Lavery found himself a little unlucky not to latch onto a Rory Holden through ball.

Seventy-four minutes in, the visitors won a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Randell Williams curled straight into the waiting arms of the Walsall shot-stopper.

A series of Walsall corners followed, with Lavery seeing a header blocked, before a lovely cross from Guthrie led to an Adebayo header being tipped behind by Ward.

The Saddlers continued to look the more likely to score, with Adebayo firing an effort over from range as we entered the final ten minutes of the game.

With eighty-three minutes on the clock, Exeter opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Joel Randall made way for Ben Seymour.

Walsall continued to pile on the pressure as we raced towards the full-time whistle, but a foray into the Walsall box almost saw the visitors take the lead in the eighty-sixth minute, as Roberts slipped as the recently introduced Seymour raced forwards, but a well placed defender ensured the angle was too tight. The resulting corner coming to nothing as Parkes failed to connect cleanly.

In the eighty-seventh minute, Walsall made their third and final change of the afternoon, as Liam Kinsella was replaced by Alfie Bates. City also took the opportunity to make a change to their line-up, with Alex Fisher making way for Nicky Law.

Three additional minutes were added to end the game, but despite mounting pressure from the Saddlers, Exeter held on to see out a nil-nil draw. City surely the happier of the two sides to take a point from the fixture.

-
FT
-
WALSALL
0 - 0
EXETER


VENUE
Banks's Stadium
REFEREE
Ben Speedie

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