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Match Report: Scunthorpe United 0 Walsall 2

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's League Two clash between Scunthorpe United and the Saddlers.
With just three games remaining and as both teams still faced the possibility of relegation, there was little room for error as Walsall visited Glanford Park, looking to secure a place in the fourth tier for at least another year.

Scunthorpe United got the match underway, and went on to win the first corner of the game just four minutes in, as Wes McDonald turned the ball out of play. Nothing would come of the flag-kick though, as Sam Perry skilfully blocked George Taft's strike.

The hosts continued to play well, seeing much of the early ball, but seven minutes in, some good work from Josh Gordon and Tyreik Wright played Emmanuel Osadebe into firing range, but his effort failed to trouble the man between the sticks, as it sailed harmlessly wide.

Walsall continued to enjoy a brighter spell, and thirteen minutes in, they took the lead, as Osadebe met a Hayden White cross at the back post and headed home to secure his third goal of the campaign.

The first substitution of the afternoon came from an unusual source, as referee James Adcock found himself unable to continue, forcing fourth official Ben Toner to take his place, just seventeen minutes into the contest.

With twenty-three minutes on the clock, the Saddlers doubled their advantage. Osadebe turning provider from a free-kick, as he delivered a lovely low cross into the box, where Gordon was waiting to fire home his sixth of the season. The visitors taking their chances well.

Scunthorpe looked to respond quickly, working the ball up to the other end where Ryan Loft controlled the ball well at the edge of the area before firing an effort inches over the crossbar.

The hosts continued to seek a route back into the game, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position in the twenty-eighth minute, which Kevin Van Veen delivered to Loft inside the box, but Walsall shot-stopper, Jack Rose pulled off a fine, one-handed save to push the ball behind to maintain his sides lead, however, any goal would not have stood anyway, due to an infringement of the offside rule.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball without troubling their opposition defences. Until, in the thirty-ninth minute, Loft and Van Veen combined again to test Rose, who once again was equal to it, though again a flag was raised and any goal would not have stood.

The hosts continued to struggle to remain in onside positions, winning a free-kick in the forty-fourth minute, from which Van Veen looked to find Loft at the back post, only for the flag to rise once more.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side were able to create anything further of note before heading off for their half-time refreshments with Walsall leading by two-goals-to-nil.

HT
SUFC
0-2
WFC

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. The Saddlers began the second-half brightly, winning a corner six minutes in, as Wright forced United shot-stopper, Mark Howard to turn the ball behind, though nothing would come of the flag-kick as the cross was overhit.

Another Walsall corner followed moments later, as Wright cut inside and forced a block from Taft, though again, nothing would come of flag-kick. Wright continued to cause the United defences problems, forcing another save, with an effort from just outside the box in the fifty-fifth minute.

With fifty-six minutes on the clock, Scunthorpe opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Alex Gilliead making way for John McAtee.

The game settled back into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball without really troubling their opposition defences. The Saddlers seemingly content to thwart their oppositions attempts to get back into the game.

With sixty-seven minutes on the clock, Alfie Beestin became the first player to be shown the yellow card, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Liam Kinsella.

Two minutes later, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the game, with Josh Gordon making way for Caolan Lavery.

Walsall won a corner in seventy-third minute, as McAtee turned the ball out of play, which Osadebe whipped into the box, but a touch from Saddlers captain, James Clarke was not enough to turn it home and the ball sailed harmlessly wide of the far post.

The hosts went on to win a corner themselves at the other end, moments later, as Devarn Green saw a low cross turned out of play, but Mason O'Malley's in-swinging cross from the flag-kick was headed over by Jai Rowe. The move also caused a slight delay to proceedings as both Rowe and White required treatment following a clash of heads, though they were soon able to re-join the action.

That would be Rowe's final contribution to the game though, as with seventy-seven minutes on the clock, Scunthorpe chose to make two further changes to their line-up. Alfie Beestin and Jai Rowe making way for Jem Karacan and Teddy Howe.

The Saddlers should probably have secured a third goal, and put the game to bed, moments after the changes were made, as Osadebe cut the ball back for Wright who was lingering around the penalty spot, but the latters effort was aimed squarely at Howard in the United goal; the 'keeper making no mistake as he held with ease.

Scunthorpe continued to seek a route back into the game as we entered the final ten minutes, with Van Veen seeing a cross cleared before Howe fired wide in eighty-third minute.

The Saddlers chose to make a late substitution, as the board went up to indicate four additional minutes would be played. Emmanuel Osadebe making way for Joe Willis who took to the field to make his league debut.

Walsall continued to seek a third goal during the final few minutes, winning a corner, which was played to Dan Scarr at the back post, but Howard was alert to the danger and saved well.

With ninety-one minutes on the clock, James Clarke became only the second player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Howe.

The final action of the afternoon came by way of a double change, made by the Saddlers as they looked to run down the clock. Dan Scarr and Liam Kinsella making way for Tom Leak and Alfie Bates.

That would be the end of the afternoon's entertainment though, and the Saddlers ran out winners, taking all three points back to the Black Country thanks to the two first-half goals from Emmanuel Osadebe and Josh Gordon.

FT
SUFC
0-2
WFC


Osadebe (13')
Gordon (23')
VENUE
Glanford Park
REFEREE
Ben Toner

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