Match Report: Walsall 1 Scunthorpe United 2 Match Report: Walsall 1 Scunthorpe United 2
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 1 Scunthorpe United 2

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's League Two clash between Walsall and Scunthorpe United.
Darrell Clarke and  his Saddlers arrived at Tuesday evening's clash on the back of a disappointing defeat to Salford City, a result which saw Walsall's unbeaten run stopped after six games without defeat.

Scunthorpe United got the match underway, but it was the hosts who enjoyed the brighter opening, winning a free-kick just a minute in, from which they forced Alex Gilliead and goalkeeper, Mark Howard to combine to clear the danger.

With just three minutes on the clock, however, the visiting side had won the ball back and forced a corner at the other end. The flag-kick was played short and Walsall were able to put the ball out of play for a second corner, from which Saddlers shot-stopper, Jack Rose made a superb reaction save to deny Scunthorpe the opening goal.

The visitors continued to press, with Alfie Beestin firing wide in the third minute, moments before Myles Hippolyte forced another save from Rose from close range.

Walsall soon had the ball back at the other end, as the early frenetic pace continued, winning a corner in the sixth minute, which was crossed onto the head of Dan Scarr, who was unable to keep his effort on target, with the ball heading narrowly wide of the far post.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a brighter spell, with Scarr combining well with Cameron Norman in the seventh minute, to tee up Jake Scrimshaw, but the Bournemouth loanee's headed effort sailed narrowly over the crossbar.

Back at the other end, in the eleventh minute, Rose was again called into action, as the goalkeeper found himself tasked with saving a Jake Taylor effort, after some good work from Beestin and Howard played the midfielder in.

Taylor continued to look dangerous, seeing another effort stopped in the thirteenth minute, before a Mason O'Malley cross was headed over the bar by Ryan Loft.

The early pace slowed a little as the game continued, with both sides settling into it as they continued to each enjoy spells on the ball.

With twenty minutes on the clock, Ryan Loft became the first player to receive a caution, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Rose, as the collision left both players needing treatment. They were, thankfully, soon both back on their feet and able to continue.

The hosts were soon back on the attack, with a low cross from Wes McDonald somehow evading everyone in the box, allowing Howard to gather.

The Iron won a free-kick in a dangerous position in the twenty-third minute, which Gilliead curled into the box, where it was cleared as far as Jordan Clarke, who saw his cross back in turned out of play for a throw-in as the move broke down.

Three minutes later, another free-kick was awarded the Irons way, as Taylor was fouled just outside the box. O'Malley played the set-piece into the area, but the Saddlers cleared the initial danger, only to see the clearance rebound into the path of Hippolyte who fired past Rose to give his side the lead.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly, winning a free-kick in a dangerous spot, in the thirty-fourth minute. United were forced to defend the set-piece with ten men, as Hippolyte required treatment after coming off second best in the challenge, but it was of little consequence, as Howard was able to make a save to deny Scarr, who gave the 'keeper little to do.

Walsall continued to seek an equalising goal as the game continued, with Josh Gordon playing in Elijah Adebayo in the thirty-sixth minute, but Scunthorpe captain, Jordan Clarke was well placed to block the effort off the line to deny the Saddlers striker an almost certain goal.

The home team had soon created another opportunity to restore parity, with McDonald seeing space to fire goal-wards from twenty-five yards out, in the forty-first minute, but Howard got down well to palm the ball clear.

Four additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time Danny Guthrie looked to set up Gordon, but the strikers header goal-wards sailed wide of the mark, without troubling the Iron' shot-stopper. Before, up at the other end, Hippolyte found himself unable to make a connection with a good looking Devarn Green cross.

That would be the final action of note though, and with neither side able to create anything further of note, they headed off for their half-time refreshments, with Scunthorpe leading by one-goal-to-nil.

0 - 1

Scunthorpe opted to make a change as the sides returned from their break, with Ryan Loft sitting out the second-half, as Aaron Jarvis took his place, before the Saddlers got the action back underway.

The Saddlers began the half brightly, with the side a little unlucky not to level the scores just three minutes in, as a curling Guthrie effort sailed inches wide of the far post.

Walsall continued to look the brighter of the two sides as the match continued, with Liam Kinsella playing Gordon in in the fiftieth minute, but Howard was able to get to the effort and gather at the second time of asking to ensure his side remained ahead.

With fifty-five minutes on the clock, the Saddlers drew level, as a lovely ball in from Norman found Wes McDonald with space at the back post.

In the fifty-ninth minute, Scunthorpe were forced to make a second substitution. Aaron Jarvis, introduced into the fray just fourteen minutes earlier, unable to continue after a collision, with Abo Eisa taking his place.

Walsall were awarded a penalty in the sixty-first minute, as Jordan Clarke bundled Adebayo over in the box. Gordon stepped forward to take the spot-kick, but failed to capitalise, as Howard got a hand to the effort and his defences mopped up to keep the scores tied.

The visitors almost restored their earlier lead five minutes after the missed spot-kick, but Rose did well to prevent a Hippolyte volley finding the target. They continued to press, with Green also seeing an effort saved by Rose moments later, before O'Malley saw his effort from the rebound blocked.

Unperturbed, the Iron continued to seek a second goal, and were rewarded in the sixty-eighth minute, as Taylor played in Gilliead, who slotted past Rose from outside the area.

With sixty-nine minutes on the clock, the Saddlers were forced to make their first change of the evening, as Jack Rose struggled to shake off a knock picked up in the first-half, with Liam Roberts taking his place for the remaining twenty minutes.

The Saddlers set about looking to restore parity once more once the change was completed, with Gordon firing a long ball goal-wards, which Howard was able to gather, before Scrimshaw forced a second save from the 'keeper just a minute later.

In the seventy-fourth minute, the Saddlers chose to make a further two changes to their line-up, with both George Nurse and Jake Scrimshaw making way as Mat Sadler and Emmanuel Osadebe joined the fray.

Six minutes later, Scunthorpe opted to make their third change of the evening, with Devarn Green making way for John McAtee.

Moments after the change, Walsall felt they should have been awarded a second penalty, as Adebayo was again floored inside the area, but referee, Trevor Kettle was unmoved by their appeals and play continued.

Walsall opted to make a fourth substitution in the eighty-third minute, with Josh Gordon making way for Caolan Lavery.

The home side continued to seek an equaliser as we entered the final five minutes of play, with Jordan Clarke forced to turn a McDonald cross out of play for a corner, with Howard on hand to claim the flag-kick moments later, and a short time later, both Lavery and Adebayo saw efforts sail wide of the upright.

Six additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time, McDonald saw a long range effort saved by Howard, with the resulting corner seeing another save from the Scunthorpe 'keeper.

In the ninety-fifth minute, the Scunthorpe bench opted to make a late change to their team, with Jake Taylor making way for George Hornshaw.

That would be the final action of the evening, as Scunthorpe held onto their slender lead to see out the game, winning by two-goals-to-one. A disappointing end to the year for the Saddlers, who again failed to take their chances.

1 - 2
McDonald (55')

Hippolyte (27')
Gilliead (69')
Banks's Stadium
Trevor Kettle
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