Match Report: Grimsby Town 1 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between the Saddlers and hosts, Grimsby Town.
The Saddlers arrived at the match in need of three-much needed points as they already small gap between them and the relegation zone has continued to shrink over recent weeks and months.

Opponents Grimsby won their most recent outing and were keen to add to that triumph as they welcomed Brian Dutton and his Walsall side to Blundell Park.

The home side got the match underway, but play was paused just one minute in, allowing Walsall captain, James Clarke to receive treatment for a head injury.

After a lengthy delay, it was determined that he would be able to continue and play resumed.

Just nine minutes in, Grimsby took the lead. Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts doing well to claw a headed effort away from goal, with James Hanson well placed to follow up.

Twelve minutes in, Stefan Payne became the first player to receive a caution, picking up a yellow card for a late challenge on Emmanuel Osadebe.

The hosts continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, though nineteen minutes in, the Saddlers were presented with a chance to level the scores as they won a free-kick in a dangerous position. Unfortunately, Josh Gordon's effort from the set-piece sailed wide of the mark.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the twenty-second minute, allowing Jay Matete to receive treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Walsall continued to enjoy a brighter spell, with Caolan Lavery setting Stuart Sinclair up in the twenty-third minute, but Harry Clifton was on hand for the hosts to ensure they would maintain their lead.

Moments later, the Saddlers won a corner kick as a long range, curling effort from Osadebe was tipped over the bar by Grimsby 'keeper, James McKeown. The flag-kick being turned goal-wards by Tom Leak, where Matete was on hand to clear the ball off the line.

After struggling to shake off the injury picked up minutes earlier, Jay Matete found himself unable to continue. Grimsby forced to make an early substitution, with Danny Rose taking the injured mans place.

Moments after the change was completed, Hanson saw an effort from outside the area blocked, as the hosts looked to extend their advantage.

Grimsby continued to seek a second goal, with Hanson looking to turn provider in the thirty-fifth minute. Roberts doing well to prevent Payne finding the target before a through ball from Luke Spokes looked to have played Lenell John-Lewis in, but the Town captain was unable to make a connection with the ball and the Walsall 'keeper gathered.

The home side continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, though they were unable to further test the Saddlers defences before we entered five additional minutes.

In the first of those five minutes added on, the Saddlers drew level as Gordon crossed the ball onto the head of Lavery, who nodded home his seventh goal of the season.

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

HT
GTFC
1-1
WFC

Walsall opted to make a change ahead of the restart, with Max Melbourne sitting out the second forty-five, as Callum Cockerill-Mollett took his place.

The Saddlers began the second-half brighly, winning a corner just three minutes in, which was swung into the box by Osadebe for Gordon, whose headed effort was blocked before Mat Sadler also saw a shot blocked.

Grimsby won a corner at the other end, just a minute later, as Payne forced Leak to turn the ball out of play, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball without troubling their opposition defences.

The hosts were presented with a chance to restore their earlier goal advantage in the sixty-fourth minute, as Luke Spokes found space to pass across the face of goal, but Hanson, waiting at the back post, was unable to get his head to it to turn it home.

Seventy minutes into the contest, Grimsby again went close, as Hanson connected with the ball at the back post, heading back across goal, but the Walsall captain was on hand to clear the danger.

Town continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, winning a corner in the seventy-third minute, which ultimately came to nothing before the hosts chose to make two changes to their line-up, as Luke Spokes and Lenell John-Lewis made way for George Williams and Ira Jackson Jr.

The Mariners went close again in the seventy-ninth minute, as Clifton crossed the ball in for Payne, but the strikers headed effort sailed wide of the target and the scores remained tied.

After almost forty minutes with a barely a whisper of a chance, the Saddlers were finally able to work some space for themselves in the eighty-third minute, as Liam Kinsella put on a good display before crossing the ball in for Lavery, however Caolan's shot failed to test McKeown in the Mariners goal as it sailed high over the crossbar.

Another Walsall chance followed in the eighty-eighth minute, as the side won a free-kick in a dangerous spot. Osadebe looked to have McKeown beaten with his delivery, but the effort sailed inches over the crossbar.

Walsall captain, James Clarke, became only the second player to see yellow, in the eighty-eighth minute, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Williams.

The hosts won a corner at the other end, as we entered two minutes added to end the game, but nothing would come of it and there were no further chances of note, so the game ended with the scores tied as they had been at the end of the first-half.

FT
GTFC
1-1
WFC
Hanson (9')
Lavery (45+1')
VENUE
Blundell Park
REFEREE
Sam Barrott
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