Match Report: Exeter City 0 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's League Two clash between Exeter City and Walsall.
With the winless month of February behind them, the Saddlers opened March with a trip to St James Park where they took on Play-Off chasing Exeter City in search of both an improved performance and three much-needed points.

Exeter got the match underway, and the hosts began the brightly, seeing much of the early ball. Just six minutes into the game, the home side felt they should have been awarded a penalty as Ben Seymour went down inside the area, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

The hosts continued to look the brighter of the two sides as play continued, winning a corner in the ninth minute, as a Robbie Willmott cross was turned behind.

The flag-kick was played short to Willmott, whose cross this time sailed over the top and out of play.

Walsall gradually began to see more of the ball as time ebbed on, creating their first chance of the match in the thirteenth minute, as Stuart Sinclair found Caolan Lavery in shooting range, however a deflection ensured his effort would not find the target, sending the ball wide, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Exeter soon had the ball back at the other end, where a mistake from Hayden White allowed Joel Randall an effort on goal, but Saddlers shot-stopper, Liam Roberts, was well placed to deny him.

Roberts was called into action again in the nineteenth minute; the 'keeper getting down well to deny Matt Jay who had worked his way into space to get a shot away.

Back at the other end, moments later, Sinclair fired wide after some good build-up play from Lavery and Cameron Norman played him in.

Exeter went close to opening the scoring in the twenty-third minute, winning a corner as Roberts was forced to turn a Josh Key effort behind. The ball was played back into the box from the flag-kick, by Archie Collins, where it was met by Key, in space, whose headed effort sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

The home side continued to see more of the ball than their visitors as the game continued, though they were unable to cause the Saddlers defences any real problems. City did win a thirty-sixth minute corner, as a Collins effort was deflected behind, but the flag-kick, again played short, came to nothing as the visiting defences stood firm.

In the fortieth minute, the hosts again felt they should have been awarded a penalty kick, as they believed a Jake Taylor shot to have struck Mat Sadler's arm, however the referee was unconvinced and play continued.

City continued to look the more likely to score as we raced towards the break, winning a corner in the forty-second minute, as a Jay effort was turned behind, before the striker turned the ball wide following the flag-kick.

One additional minute was played to end the first-half, but neither side was able to find a breakthrough, and the teams headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied

-
HT
-
EXETER
0-0
WALSALL

Walsall opted to make a double substitution as the sides returned, with both Callum Cockerill-Mollett and Jayden Reid sitting out the second-half, as Frank Vincent and Josh Gordon took their places as the Saddlers got the action back underway.

With forty-nine minutes on the clock, Max Melbourne became the first player to receive a caution, picking up a yellow card after felling Key on the edge of the area.

The resulting free-kick saw the hosts put the ball into the back of the net, as Rory McArdle turned Jay's cross home, however the linesman's flag was raised for an infringement of the offside rule and the goal was chalked off.

Exeter continued to enjoy much of the possession as the game continued, though they struggled to cause the Saddlers any defensive problems, with much of the action contained within the midfield area.

As we reached the hour mark, the hosts won a corner, as a Jay free-kick was deflected behind, but the Saddlers defences ensured nothing would come of the flag-kick.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, Rory McArdle joined Melbourne on a yellow card, as he received a caution following a foul.

The hosts continued to see much of the ball as the match wore on, though they struggled to create opportunities to open the scoring. In the seventieth minute, Seymour was presented with a chance to score, but fired over.

In the seventy-third minute, Exeter chose to make their first change of the evening, replacing captain, Jake Taylor with Nigel Atangana for the run-in.

The hosts won a corner fifteen minutes from time, as Randall forced Roberts to turn the ball behind, but nothing would come of it as the Saddlers came away from it with the ball.

In the eighty-third minute, City opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Joel Randall making way for Jack Sparkes.

Two minutes later, the Saddlers chose to make a third change to their side, with Stuart Sinclair being replaced by Sam Perry.

The game remained an uneventful affair as it continued, with both sides struggling to create anything of note, as they seemingly contented themselves with taking a point from the match.

In the eighty-eighth minute, the home side introduced a third substitute, as Robbie Willmott made way for Alex Fisher.

Three additional minutes were added to end the match, but they were played much as those that had gone before them, with very little attacking endeavour from either side, and the game ultimately ended with the scores as they had been at the start of the evening. The sides taking a point apiece from the rather drab encounter.

-
FT
-
EXETER
0-0
WALSALL


VENUE
St James Park
REFEREE
John Busby
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