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Match Report: Walsall 1 Oldham Athletic 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between the Saddlers and Oldham Athletic.
Following a fortnight without a competitive outing the Saddlers returned to action as they played host to Harry Kewell's Latics at Banks's Stadium.

After losing their last three matches the Reds were in dire need of a return to winning ways as they looked to avoid adding another defeat to their recent run of results.

Oldham Athletic got the match underway, but it was Walsall who enjoyed the brighter start, with Elijah Adebayo seeing a second minute effort sail wide of the upright.

The Saddlers continued to look the more likely to score, with Josh Gordon worked his way into the box, in the sixth minute, forcing Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to turn the ball behind for a corner, but that ultimately came to nothing.

The visiting side created their first real chance of the game in the tenth minute, as Marcel Hilssner and Alfie McCalmont played a neat one-two to work the ball into shooting range, but the effort on goal lacked any power allowing Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts to claim.

A brief pause in play followed, whilst Dan Scarr received treatment. Fortunately, he was soon back on his feet and able to re-join the action.

The Saddlers began to enjoy a good spell, with Adebayo almost playing in Gordon on the quarter hour mark, before Jack Nolan saw a cross into the box cleared as far as Zak Jules whose effort on goal was deflected behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

With eighteen minutes on the clock, a Walsall free-kick allowed Nolan another chance to play the ball into the box, which he did, forcing a save from Latics 'keeper, Ian Lawlor, who managed to clear the ball only as far as Gordon who forced a second save from the shot-stopper, who turned the ball behind. The resulting corner met the head of Scarr, who was unable to keep the ball in play, finding the roof of the net.

The Saddlers continued to look the brighter of the two teams, going close again in the twenty-sixth minute, as Wes McDonald capitalised on a loose pass from Sido Jombati and fired goal-wards from twenty-five yards out, with the effort sailing inches wide of the far post.

The Latics struggled to gain a foothold in the game, conceding another free-kick in a dangerous spot in the thirty-third minute, as Harrison Clarke fouled Gordon on the edge of the area. Nolan saw his initial effort from the set-piece blocked, before Jules took aim at the top corner, firing narrowly over.

With thirty-three minutes on the clock, the Latics were finally able to create a chance themselves, as Dylan Fage crossed the ball into the box, where it was met by Conor McAleny whose right-footed effort sailed wide of Roberts upright.

The hosts soon had the ball back at the other end though, winning another corner which came to nothing, before the visiting side created another chance on goal in the fortieth minute, which Danny Rowe fired over the crossbar from thirty-five yards out.

The Latics won a free-kick in a dangerous spot with just two minutes of the first-half remaining, but Rowe failed to beat the wall with the initial effort, before McCalmont saw his rebound effort blocked and cleared.

In the final few seconds of the opening half, the Saddlers were awarded another free-kick in a dangerous position, as a foul on McDonald saw Thomas Hamer receive a yellow card. Nolan's free-kick fell to Alfie Bates, who crossed the ball into the box where it was met by Jules who turned the ball home from four yards. The ball being cleared off the line in a goalmouth scramble, but the linesman adjudging it to have crossed the lone to see the Saddlers take a one goal lead into the break.

-
HT
-
WALSALL
1 - 0
OLDHAM

Oldham opted to make a change to their line-up ahead of the second-half, with Thomas Hamer sitting out the second forty-five, as Dylan Bahamboula took his place as Walsall got the action back underway.

The Latics began the second-half brightly, winning a corner just four minutes in, as Mat Sadler was forced to turn the ball out of play, which came to nothing, before a second flag-kick, conceded by McDonald was also dealt with by the Saddlers defences.

Walsall soon had the ball up at the other end, where Hayden White picked out McDonald with a lovely cross. McDonald was able to cut inside before firing an effort goal-wards, but Lawlor was alert in the Latics goal and made the save.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a brighter spell, as they looked to double their advantage, and were a little unlucky to see a fifty-fifth minute cross from Adebayo evade both Gordon and McDonald and head out for goal-kick.

The hosts continued to look the brighter of the two sides as the action continued, with McDonald forcing Lawlor into a save in the fifty-seventh minute, with a deflected effort which almost caught the 'keeper out.

Walsall kept up the pressure, with Nolan crossing the ball in for Gordon just two minutes later, but Josh's volleyed effort was easily saved by the Latics shot-stopper.

With sixty-one minutes on the clock, Harry Clarke became the second player to see yellow, as he was booked for a foul on Adebayo.

Two minutes later, the Latics bench opted to make a double change, as both Alfie McCalmont off and Brice Ntambwe were taken off in favour of Davis Keillor-Dunn and Ben Garrity.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the sixty-sixth minute, allowing Garrity and Scarr to receive treatment after a collision, during which time, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Jack Nolan made way for Emmanuel Osadebe. Fortunately, neither of the injured players were seriously hurt and both were soon able to re-join the action.

With twenty minutes of the game to play, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson picked up the third yellow card of the game, as he was cautioned for a foul on the recently introduced Osadebe.

Just a minute later, Dan Scarr also joined the growing ranks in the referee's notebook, as he too saw yellow for a foul.

The visiting side continued to look for a goal to draw themselves level, with Hilsnner seeing a thirty yard effort parried by Roberts in the forty-fourth minute, before McAleny's rebound effort was blocked by the Walsall defences.

One minute later, the visiting side had more luck, as Keillor-Dunn picked up the ball twelve yards from goal and fired home to restore parity.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly, but Sadler was unable to keep his seventy-seventh minute headed effort on target, with the ball sailing wide of the far post.

Ten minutes from time, the Saddlers chose to make a double change, with both Josh Gordon and Zak Jules making way as Callum Cockerill-Mollett and Caolan Lavery entered the fray.

Three minutes later, Oldham also opted to make another alteration to their line-up, as Marcell Hilssner was replaced by Kyle Jameson.

There was little further action of note, before we entered five additional minutes. With ninety-three minutes played, a McAleny effort sailed over the crossbar, but very little else happened and the referee brought an end to the contest with the sides taking a point apiece from the game.

A disappointing afternoon from the Saddlers, who played the first-half with such promise, but failed to take their chances, allowing Oldham to get back into it in the second-half, with little on show by way of a reply

-
FT
-
WALSALL
1 - 1
OLDHAM
Jules (45')
Keillor-Dunn (75')
VENUE
Banks's Stadium
REFEREE
Chris Pollard
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