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Match Report: Newport County 1 Walsall 1

The Saddlers were back in action on Tuesday evening as they took on Newport County at Rodney Parade.
Looking to return to winning ways following a string of four all-competition defeats, Darrell Clarke's side had a Welsh mountain to climb as they tackled the team at the peak of League Two, Newport County.

Newport County got the match underway, and both sides took their time to settle into the game, with Walsall enjoying plenty of possession, without troubling their hosts in the early goings.

With nine minutes on the clock, the home side enjoyed their first real opportunity of the evening, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position as Cameron Norman fouled Joss Labadie. However, nothing would come of the set-piece as Scott Twine's powerful effort failed to beat the wall, hitting Dan Scarr in the face, leaving the Walsall defender in need of treatment.

The hosts continued to grow into the game, seeing more of the ball as time wore on, however they remained unable to break down the Saddlers. 
Walsall found the breakthrough in the twenty-first minute; Rory Holden doing well to beat the Newport defences before slipping the ball through to Elijah Adebayo who found the bottom corner.

The Saddlers advantage lasted all of two minutes, as the hosts won a free-kick in a dangerous spot in the twenty-third minute, which fell to Twine outside the box, whose effort on goal was fumbled over the line by Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts, restoring parity.

The visiting side should have restored their advantage just a minute later, however, Emmanuel Osadebe, with an open goal ahead of him, failed to find the target, sending his effort wide of the upright.

With twenty-seven minutes on the clock, Brandon Cooper became the first player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Jake Scrimshaw.

Walsall went close again in the twenty-eighth minute, as Liam Kinsella fired goal-wards, after working the ball into shooting range, but a deflection saw the effort turned behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

Newport won a corner themselves in the thirty-fifth minute, as Scarr turned the ball out of play, and though the ball found Twine in a promising position, outside the box, the midfielders effort sailed high and wide, failing to trouble the man between the sticks.

The hosts continued to press as we raced towards the break, winning another corner kick in the fortieth minute, which was played into the box by Matthew Dolan and met by Cooper, but the defenders volley sailed high and wide.

With forty-two minutes on the clock, Mickey Demetriou joined Cooper on a caution, as he saw yellow for a challenge which left Norman requiring treatment. The Walsall man eventually able to re-join the action.

The Saddlers almost restored their earlier lead in the forty-third minute, as Holden delivered a cross into the box for Scarr, but the defenders headed effort looped narrowly over the crossbar.

Three minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time Adebayo was presented with a chance to put his side ahead at the break, however he failed to do so and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores tied.

-
HT
-
NEWPORT
1 - 1
WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the second-half underway. Newport began the half looking the brighter of the two sides, seeing much of the ball in the early goings, though they were unable to test the Saddlers defences.

Walsall won the first corner of the half, eight minutes in, but it came to nothing as Alfie Bates saw an effort on goal blocked.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, James Clarke became the third player to see yellow, as the Saddler skipper received a caution for a foul on Twine as he looked to halt an Exiles counter attack.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a brighter spell, with Adebayo played through on goal in the fifty-sixth minute, only to have been caught offside, before former County man, Osadebe called goalkeeper, Nick Townsend into action with a long-range effort.

Back at the other end, three minutes later, the Walsall shot-stopper was called into action as Twine got on the end of a Padraig Amond cross, but the shot lacked power and Roberts gathered.

With sixty-five minutes on the clock, the hosts opted to make the first change of the evening, with Jamie Proctor making way for Tristan Abrahams.

Walsall won a corner, shortly after the change, as Cooper turned a cross behind, but it came to nothing as Scarr's shot from the centre of the box was blocked.

There was a brief pause in proceedings as we reached the seventy minute mark, whilst Labadie received treatment, but the Exiles captain was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

The Saddlers went close fifteen minutes from time, as Osadebe played the ball into the path of Adebayo, but the strikers effort on goal sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

With seventy-six minutes on the clock, Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke opted to make a double change to his line-up, with both Elijah Adebayo and Jake Scrimshaw departing, as Caolan Lavery and Wes McDonald took their places.

The Exiles also took the opportunity to make further changes to their side, with Liam Shephard and Ryan Haynes making way for Jamie Devitt and Robbie Willmott.

Willmott almost made his mark on the game mere seconds after his introduction, as he crossed the ball onto the head of Twine, but the goal-scorer was unable to double his tally for the evening, with the ball sailing inches wide of the upright.

With just six minutes of the game remaining, County opted to make their fourth change of the evening, as Padraig Amond was replaced by Kevin Ellison.

The home side won a free-kick in a dangerous position, three minutes from time, as Twine was felled on the edge of the area, in a move which saw Rory Holden receive a yellow card. Fortunately for the Saddlers, nothing would come from the opportunity, as Dolan's effort was deflected wide, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Four minutes were added to end the game, during which time the Saddlers bench opted to make another change, introducing Jack Nolan in place of Emmanuel Osadebe. That would be the final action of note though, as the referee called time with the score still tied at one goal apiece.

A good point for the Saddlers, who showed much improvement on their recent outings.

-
FT
-
NEWPORT
1 - 1
WALSALL
Twine (23')
Adebayo (21')
VENUE
Rodney Parade
REFEREE
Charles Breakspear

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