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Match Report: Walsall 1 Stevenage 1

Walsall were back in League Two action on Wednesday evening as they played host to Stevenage at Banks's Stadium.
After playing out a one-all draw with Newport County just over a week ago, the Saddlers were back in action and looking to secure three much-needed points as they took on Boro during a rare Wednesday evening outing.

Stevenage got the match underway, and both teams took their time to settle into it, with the Saddlers seeing plenty of the early ball, without troubling the visiting side.

After a quiet opening nine minutes, Wes McDonald won the first corner of the game as a shot on goal was deflected behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing, shortly after Danny Newton saw an effort blocked at the other end.

With seventeen minutes on the clock, Walsall shot-stopper, Jack Rose was called into action as his skipper, James Clarke attempted to head a Newton cross back to the 'keeper, almost catching him out, but the man between the sticks managed to recover and keep the ball out.

Up at the other end, three minutes later, the Saddlers were presented with arguably the best chance of the game to this point, as Zak Jules broke down the left before picking out Elijah Adebayo six yards from goal with a low cross, but the strikers effort on goal sailed disappointingly over the crossbar.

The Saddlers continued to press, and created another half-chance in the twenty-fifth minute, as a deflected McDonald shot fell to Jake Scrimshaw, whose close range effort trickled wide of the near post.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the thirty-third minute, allowing Tom Pett to receive treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Walsall continued to see much of the ball as the game wore on, but the visiting side tested their defences in the thirty-fifth minute, as Jack Smith combined with Newton to get the ball into the box, but the Saddlers backline stood firm to ensure nothing would come of the opportunity.

The Saddlers responded with a chance at the other end, five minutes before the break, as Cameron Norman forced a clearance from Stevenage goalkeeper, Jamie Cumming, which fell to McDonald, who sliced his effort sending the ball wide of the upright.

Two minutes were added to end a quiet first-half, during which time Stevenage found the side netting, as Pett launched a counter attack and looked to play in Charlie Carter, with the latter unable to find the target.

That would be the final action of the opening forty-five minutes, and the sides headed into the break with the scores tied.

-
HT
-
WALSALL
0 - 0
BORO

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the second-half action underway.

However, it was Stevenage who were gifted a chance to open the scoring, just five minutes in, as Jack Rose tripped Pett in the area, leading to the referee awarding a penalty. Former Walsall loanee, Aramide Oteh stepped up to take the spot-kick, and duly converted.

The visiting side continued to press following the goal, and almost doubled their advantage in the fifty-third minute, however Newton dragged his shot wide of the upright.

Just two minutes later, the Saddlers saw a chance go begging at the other end, as Adebayo failed to find the target from distance, after some good work from Jules set him up.

With fifty-nine minutes on the clock, Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke opted to make a quadruple change to his line-up, with Emmanuel Osadebe, Alfie Bates, Jake Scrimshaw and Elijah Adebayo all making way as Jack Nolan, Danny Guthrie, Josh Gordon and Caolan Lavery took their respective places.

Shortly after his introduction into the game, Gordon looked to pull his side back onto level terms, but the strikers effort from outside the box was blocked.

In the sixty-sixth minute, Stevenage chose to make their first change of the evening, as goal-scorer Aramide Oteh departed, in favour of Elliott List.

In the sixty-seventh minute, Rameao Hutton became the first player to see have his name taken by the referee, as he picked up a yellow card for an off the ball foul.

The Saddlers continued to see much of the ball, winning a succession of corners, after McDonald and Gordon combined to force a big save from the Stevenage shot-stopper.

However, fifteen minutes from time, it was the visiting side who were unlucky not to score, as Newton played in Carter, whose effort was deflected behind by a well placed Liam Kinsella. The resulting corner seeing Scott Cuthbert glance the ball inches wide.

Five minutes from time, after a quiet spell, the Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty as Norman was felled in the box, however, the referee was unmoved by their protests and waved play on.

Stevenage then chose to make their second change of the evening, with Charlie Carter making way for Ben Coker.

Just as five additional minutes were added to end the game, the Saddlers were awarded a penalty for a foul on Gordon inside the area, in a move which also saw Luke Prosser pick up a booking.

Josh stepped up to take the spot-kick himself, and clipping the crossbar en route, found the target to level the scores.

Two minutes into the additional five, Danny Newton joined Hutton and Prosser in the book, seeing yellow for a late challenge on Kinsella.

That would be the final action of note, as the referee brought an end to the contest with the scores level at one-goal apiece.

A little disappointing for the hosts to take just the one point from the contest, having seen so much of the ball, but with neither side able to score from open play, about the best they could hope for.

-
FT
-
WALSALL
1 - 1
BORO
Gordon [P] (90+1')
Oteh [P] (50')
VENUE
Banks's Stadium
REFEREE
Marc Edwards

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