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Match Report: Walsall 4 Port Vale 3

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between Walsall and Port Vale.
The Saddlers had won their three previous games heading into Saturday afternoon's clash and were looking for another three points as they hoped to continue their advance towards the Play-Off and promotion places.

Port Vale got the action underway, and both sides took some time to settle into the game with neither side able to create anything of note in the opening ten minutes.

The first chance of the game fell to Walsall, in the thirteenth minute. Some good work from Wes McDonald, seeing him beat his man to get into the box before cutting the ball back for Elijah Adebayo, who was unlucky to see his effort on goal meet the crossbar.

With just sixteen minutes on the clock, Luke Joyce picked up the first yellow card of the day, as he was cautioned for a foul on Liam Kinsella.

Vale created their first chance of the game in the twentieth minute, as some good work from Alex Hurst allowed the striker a shot at goal from range, however his effort sailed high and wide, and failed to test Jack Rose in the Walsall goal.

Two minutes later, up at the other end, Vale were fortunate to keep the game goalless, as Zak Mills miscued a clearance as an Adebayo cross came into the box, sending the ball goal-wards. However, the ball connected with the post and fell kindly for the visiting 'keeper.

As we reached the half hour mark, Zak Mills became the second player to receive a caution, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul.

The visiting side soon had the ball back at the other end, with Tom Conlon crossing the ball in for Joyce, whose long range volley sailed wide of the mark, before Devante Rodney headed a Mills cross over from close range.

Vale continued to look the more likely to score, with the team a little unlucky to not see anyone connect with a Leon Legge ball across the box in the thirty-fourth minute, before Scott Burgess fired wide a minute later.

With thirty-seven minutes on the clock, the visitors found the breakthrough, with Tom Pope picking up the ball close to goal before turning his man and firing into the bottom corner.

Port Vale continued to press, but Conlon was unable to extend the visitors lead, as his thirty-eighth minute effort sailed high and wide.

However, in the forty-fourth minute, Conlon was able to double his sides advantage, as the team were awarded a free-kick twenty-five yards from goal, which the midfielder fired into the bottom corner.

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 for their half-time refreshments with Port Vale leading by two-goals-to-nil.

-
HT
-
WALSALL
0 - 2
VALE

Walsall chose to begin the second-half with four pairs of fresh legs, with Cameron Norman, Alfie Bates, Josh Gordon and Elijah Adebayo all sitting out the second forty-five, as Mat Sadler, Danny Guthrie, Caolan Lavery and Jake Scrimshaw took their places as the Saddlers got the action back underway.

With just seven second-half minutes played, the Saddlers pulled a goal back, as the recently introduced Scrimshaw netted his first Walsall goal. A long ball forward from Rory Holden creating the chance, which the Bournemouth loanee slipped under the 'keeper.

Three minutes later, the Saddlers were unlucky not to restore parity, as Scott Brown, in the Vale goal saved efforts from McDonald and Holden in quick succession.

However, the resulting corner brought more luck for the Saddlers, with the ball played to the back post by Holden, where Dan Scarr was waiting to turn it home and draw his side level.

As we reached the hour mark, Walsall thought they had scored a third goal, as Scrimshaw turned the ball home, but the linesman's flag was raised to indicate that the ball had gone out of play in the build-up and it was ruled out.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, the visiting side opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Tom Pope made way for David Amoo.

Vale set about looking to restore their earlier lead, following the change, but the Saddlers defences stood firm as Conlon fired an effort in from the edge of the area, shortly after Joyce saw an effort sail behind.

The visiting side went on to win a free-kick in a dangerous position, but Conlon's effort sailed wide of the upright, without troubling the 'keeper.

Walsall had soon worked the ball back up to the other end, where Scrimshaw was played in on goal, but he was unable to repeat his earlier heroics, with his effort sailing narrowly over the crossbar.

Fifteen minutes from time, Port Vale were able to re-take the lead, as some good play from Amoo allowed him space to cross the ball in for Rodney who duly found the back of the net from close range.

With seventy-seven minutes on the clock, Hayden White became the first Walsall player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Conlon.

Just five minutes after Port Vale had re-taken the lead, Scrimshaw secured his second Walsall goal to restore parity. White playing the ball over the top for the Bournemouth man, who fired into the roof of the net.

Two minutes after drawing level, the Saddlers found a fourth goal, which saw them lead for the first time in the game. Nathan Smith conceding a corner, from which Holden picked out Scarr, who headed home.

In the the eighty-third minute, Walsall manager, Darrell Clarke opted to make his fifth and final change of the afternoon, with Wes McDonald making way for Emmanuel Osadebe.

The visitors responded, making a double change themselves in the eighty-sixth minute. Luke Joyce and Nathan Smith the two men to make way as Theo Robinson and Adam Crookes entered the fray.

Vale continued to press as they looked to get back on level terms, with both Robinson and Mills seeing efforts come to nothing in the final moments of the half.

Four additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time Hurst fired an effort goal-wards as his side continued to seek a late equaliser, but Rose was well placed to save, and the hosts held on to win their fourth game on the bounce, winning by four-goals-to-three. A good display from the Saddlers, who came back strongly after falling two goals behind in the first-half.

-
FT
-
WALSALL
4 - 3
VALE
Scrimshaw (52')
Scarr (56')
Scrimshaw (80')
Scarr (82')
Pope (37')
Conlon (44')
Rodney (75')

VENUE
Banks's Stadium
REFEREE
Anthony Backhouse

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