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Match Report: Port Vale 1 Walsall 3

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two clash with Port Vale.
The match, which took place at the Valiants' Vale Park, saw the Saddlers look to build upon their midweek draw with Morecambe as they sought to pick up their first victory of the New Year.

Walsall got the match underway, but it was Port Vale who enjoyed the brighter start, winning a corner just four minutes in, as Zak Jules turned the ball out of play. David Worrall swung the flag-kick into the box for Shaun Brisley, but the defender was unable to direct his headed effort home, as he nodded over.

Just two minutes later, the Saddlers had more luck in front of goal, as a lovely ball over the top from Alfie Bates was met by Elijah Adebayo who beat the Port Vale defences to it and fired goal-wards, netting his ninth goal of the season.

Vale looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, but Jules did well to block a ninth minute cross into the box from David Amoo, and the subsequent corner.

Walsall soon had the ball back at the other end, where they too saw a flag-kick situation managed by their opponents, before winning a free-kick in a dangerous position following a foul on Liam Kinsella. Tyreik Wright, making his professional debut, took the set-piece, finding Mat Sadler at the back post, however the Saddlers skipper saw his effort on goal blocked.

The visitors continued to look a threat, with Josh Gordon looking to play Hayden White in in the twenty-first minute, however the defender was unable to find the target, with his effort on goal sailing wide of the upright.

Vale were able to work the ball back up to the other end from the goal-kick, allowing captain, Tom Conlon a chance on goal, but Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts was well placed to collect.

The Valiants continued to enjoy a brighter spell as the game wore on, with Zak Mills firing wide in the twenty-eighth minute, before the side were able to level the scores in the thirty-third minute, as Conlon fired a free-kick through the crowds to find the target from some distance.

The hosts felt they should have been awarded a penalty just two minutes after restoring parity, as Guthrie was felled inside the area, however the referee was unmoved by their appeals and play continued.

The game settled a little as we raced towards the break, with the hosts continuing to keep the Walsall defences busy, without really testing them, though two minutes before the break, the Valiants were awarded another free-kick in a dangerous position.

However, Worrall was unable to make the opportunity count, and after one additional minute was played, the teams headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores tied at one-goal apiece.

-
HT
-
VALE
1 - 1
WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Port Vale got the action back underway. It was the Saddlers who enjoyed the brighter start to the second-half though, winning a free-kick just three minutes in, which Adebayo turned wide.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the fifty-third minute, allowing Wright to receive treatment for a knock, but he was soon cleared to continue and play resumed.

With fifty-five minutes on the clock, the Saddlers restored their earlier lead, as Wright picked put the head of Adebayo with a delightful cross. The striker securing his tenth goal of the season from close range.

The hosts were quick to work the ball back to the other end, winning a corner as they looked to restore parity for a second time in the game, however the Saddlers defences ensured nothing would come of the opportunity.

As we reached the hour mark, Tom Conlon became the first player to see the yellow card brandished, as the Vale skipper picked up a booking for a foul on Adebayo.

Two minutes later, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Alfie Bates making way for Stuart Sinclair.

The hosts continued to seek a route back into the game, with Mills forcing a save from Roberts in the sixty-fifth minute, with the Saddlers doing well to work the ball quickly up to the other end to win a corner, which came to nothing.

In the sixty-sixth minute, Port Vale opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with David Amoo being replaced by Alex Hurst.

With sixty-eight minutes on the clock, Walsall extended their lead, as a back pass from David Fitzpatrick evaded Scott Brown in the Vale goal and trickled over the line.

Two minutes after securing their third goal of the afternoon, the Saddlers chose to make a double change to their line-up, with the debuting Tyreik Wright and Elijah Adebayo making way for Caolan Lavery and Cameron Norman.

The hosts looked to pull a goal back moments after the substitution, however none of Conlon's teammates were able to get on the end of his dangerous cross into the box and the Saddlers maintained their two goal advantage.

Josh Gordon joined Conlon on a yellow card in the seventy-first minute, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Worrall.

Just one minute later, the hosts opted to make a second change to their team, with Luke Joyce making way for Mark Cullen.

Fifteen minutes from time, Nathan Smith became the third player to see yellow, as he received a caution for a foul on McDonald.

The Saddlers then took the opportunity to introduce another debutante, as Hayden White made way for Frank Vincent, the AFC Bournemouth loanee making his club debut.

With eleven minutes remaining, Liam Kinsella joined the growing ranks in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Jake Taylor.

The hosts continued to seek a route back into the game, winning a corner ten minutes from time, as a Conlon effort from range was turned behind, however the flag-kick came to nothing as the Saddlers defences stood firm.

With eighty-five minutes on the clock, the Valiants opted to make a double change, as Zak Mills and Jake Taylor were replaced by James Gibbons and Scott Burgess.

The hosts continued to seek a late goal as the game entered the final few minutes, but the Saddlers defences stood firm to deny them, though as we entered five minutes of additional time, Vale thought they had pulled a goal back through Cullen, however, he was ruled to have been offside and the goal did not stand.

There was little further action of note, and the referee brought a halt to the contest with Walsall winning by three-goals-to-one. An improved performance from the Saddlers, who along with some good spells of defence, and some good fortune, took their chances well to register their first win of the calendar year

-
FT
-
VALE
1 - 3
WALSALL
Conlon (33')


Adebayo (6')
Adebayo (55')
Fitzpatrick [OG] (68')
VENUE
Vale Park
REFEREE
Lee Swabey
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