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Match Report: Walsall 1 Mansfield Town 1

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League Two clash between Walsall and Mansfield Town.
With their most recent outing seeing them secure their first win of the New Year with a 3-1 win over Port Vale, the Saddlers were looking to build upon that triumph as they welcomed the Stags to WS1 for their rearranged clash.

The match got underway, ahead of schedule, and Walsall began brightly, seeing two half chances blocked in the opening two minutes, as first Liam Kinsella, then Wes McDonald attempted to get the Saddlers on the board in the early goings.

Mansfield Town soon had the ball up at the other end, creating their opening chance of the game just five minutes in. George Lapslie doing well to find Jamie Reid in shooting range, but the latter's effort on goal sailed inches wide of the upright, without troubling Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts.

There was a brief halt to proceedings, eleven minutes in, allowing Lapslie to receive treatment for what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Unfortunately, he was unable to continue, and the Stags were forced to make an early change to their line-up, introducing Ollie Clarke in the injured man's place.

Both sides settled a little following the change, with neither really causing their opposition any real concerns.

That is, until the Saddlers won a free-kick in a dangerous position in the twenty-third minute. Tyreik Wright swung the ball in towards the back post, where Lincoln City loanee, Max Melbourne was waiting to turn it home to open the scoring.

With twenty-six minutes on the clock, Stephen Quinn became the first player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Wright.

The visiting side looked to get back on level terms quickly, but their first opportunity to do so was squandered by Stephen McLaughlin who fired wide from distance.

Three minutes after seeing the first yellow card of the game, a second was shown. This time to Tyreik Wright, for a foul on Quinn.

The Stags had more luck in the thirty-first minute, as a cross from Jordan Bowery was met by substitute, Ollie Clarke, who turned the ball into the bottom left corner to level the scores.

The visiting side continued to press, having restored parity, and almost took the lead in the thirty-third minute, but Harry Charsley was unable to keep his effort on target following a free-kick, sending the ball narrowly wide of Roberts' upright.

Mansfield continued to cause problems for the Saddlers defences, winning a corner in the thirty-sixth minute, as a Kellan Gordon effort was blocked behind by Melbourne. Fortunately, the Saddlers were able to clear the danger and the flag-kick came to nothing.

The hosts soon had the ball back at the other end, winning a corner themselves, as George Maris turned the ball out of play. They too were able to clear the danger, and went on to win another flag-kick up at the other end just two minutes later, which Walsall were again equal to.

Mansfield continued to press, late into the half, winning another corner in the forty-fourth minute, as Mat Sadler was forced to turn the ball out of play. However, the Saddlers once again ensured nothing would come of the opportunity, and we headed into three additional minutes with the scores tied.

The Stags almost took the lead during the first of the three additional minutes, as Ollie Clarke picked out Bowery with a lovely pass, however, the Saddlers shot-stopper was well placed to palm the strikers effort clear of goal to keep his side level.

There was little further action of note, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores tied at one goal apiece.

-
HT
-
WALSALL
1-1
TOWN

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and the action got back underway. Mansfield began the second-half brightly, with Reid feeding the ball through for Charsley, three minutes in, but Roberts was alert to the danger and made the save.

Walsall won a free-kick in a dangerous position, in the fifty-third minute, and really should have re-established their earlier lead, however, Caolan Lavery was unable to turn Wright's cross home, heading the ball narrowly wide from close range.

The Stags soon had the ball back at the other end, where Kellan Gordon looked to have played in Bowery, however, an alert Alfie Bates was able to beat the striker to the ball to ensure nothing would come of the opening.

With sixty-one minutes on the clock, Liam Kinsella joined those already in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Kellan Gordon.

Just two minutes later, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the evening, as Tyreik Wright was replaced by Jack Nolan.

The Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the sixty-sixth minute, as Josh Gordon went down inside the area, however, the referee deemed that he was not fouled and waved play on.

With seventy-two minutes on the clock, the Stags opted to make their second change of the game; Stephen Quinn making way as Oliver Šarkić entered the fray.

The visitors won a free-kick in a dangerous spot moments after the change, from which Farrend Rawson headed wide.

The Saddlers chose to make two further changes to their line-up in the seventy-seventh minute, as both Caolan Lavery and Alfie Bates were spared further minutes, with Frank Vincent and Derick Osei Yaw taking their places.

The visitors should probably have taken the lead in the eighty-first minute, and would have but for the legs of Roberts, who did well to block Bowery's shot, before Charsley turned the rebound wide.

In the eighty-sixth minute, Kellan Gordon joined those on a caution, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Melbourne.

No additional time was added to end the game, so the full-time whistle sounded with the scores still level. A point apiece probably a fair reflection on a game which never really got going.

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FT
-
WALSALL
1-1
TOWN
Melbourne (23')
O.Clarke (31')
VENUE
Banks's Stadium
REFEREE
Alan Young

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