Match Report: Walsall 0 Harrogate Town 0 Match Report: Walsall 0 Harrogate Town 0
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Walsall 0 Harrogate Town 0

Here is our Match Report from the Good Friday clash between the Saddlers and Harrogate Town.
The Saddlers' first game of the month saw them play host to Harrogate Town as they went in search of what would be just a second win in nineteen league games, a run of form which had seen the edge ever-closer to the relegation zone.

Walsall got the match underway, and within a minute of kick-off, Sam Perry and Tyreik Wright combined to create the first opening for the hosts; Wright's left-footed effort from distance sailing wide of the mark.

Harrogate Town had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts was brought into action, to deny George Thomson an early goal.

The visiting side continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, winning the first corner of the match in the sixth minute, as James Clarke cleared the ball out of play. Nothing would come of the flag-kick.

Walsall continued to struggle to gain or maintain possession of the ball as the match wore on, though they were able to frustrate their opponents, ensuring Harrogate were unable to further test Roberts.

Eleven minutes in, the Saddlers were able to keep possession long enough to work the ball into the Town half and create space for a shot on goal, but Will Smith was well placed to block Josh Gordon's effort.

Back at the other end, as we reached the quarter hour mark, Smith turned his hand to shooting, but his thirty-five yard effort failed to trouble the man between the sticks, as it sailed wide.

Twenty-two minutes in, Emmanuel Osadebe was picked out at the back post by Liam Kinsella, but the header goal-wards sailed wide of the target.

Moments later, with the ball back at the other end, Ryan Fallowfield crossed the ball in for Mark Beck, who was also unable to guide a headed effort into the net.

In the twenty-sixth minute, Harrogate 'keeper, James Belshaw denied the Saddlers with a one-handed save, as Osadebe picked out Gordon inside the area, before the striker firing a half-volley goal-wards. Smith then following up to clear the danger for the visitors.

The Saddlers continued to see more of the ball as time wore on, though they were unable to create much to further test their opposition's defences. That was until, thirty-seven minutes in, Wright was beaten to a ball forward by the Town shot-stopper, with the clearance falling to Gordon, who took aim but saw his goal-bound effort blocked by Daniel Jones.

The Saddlers were awarded a penalty, in the thirty-eighth minute, as Wright was fouled inside the area by Warren Burrell.

Osadebe stepped up to take the spot-kick, but former Saddler, Belshaw guessed correctly and made a fine save to deny the hosts.

A couple of corners followed, which the Saddlers were unable to make use of, and the side continued to press as we raced towards the break, with Kinsella delivering a low ball into the box for Osadebe in the forty-fifth minute, but Belshaw was again on hand to deny him.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, but neither side were able to create anything further of note, and the teams headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.


Before getting the second-half underway, Harrogate opted to make a double change to their line-up; Aaron Martin and Warren Burrell sitting out the second forty-five, as Joshua McPake and Lloyd Kerry took their places.

The visiting side began the half brightly, winning a corner just a minute in, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

Harrogate continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, but struggled to create much to test the Saddlers defences, until McPake picked up the ball in the fifty-fourth minute, drove forward and picked out Jones with a neat pass, but the defender's effort on goal sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

The Saddlers began to grow more into the game after that, with Caolan Lavery playing Wright in, one-on-one with the 'keeper in the fifty-sixth minute, but Belshaw was again on hand to deny his former side, stopping the effort with his legs.

With fifty-eight minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Alfie Bates made way for Wes McDonald.

Town looked almost certain to score in the fifty-ninth minute, as Fallowfield picked out Beck with a lovely cross, but Walsall captain, James Clarke positioned himself well to block the effort and deny the goal.

Walsall soon had the ball back at the other end, where McDonald forced a stop from Belshaw before Osadebe saw an effort blocked.

Moments later, Belshaw was again tested, with the shot-stopper doing well to deny Lavery. The resulting was cleared behind for a second, from which Town came away with the ball.

With seventy-three minutes played, the visiting side created a good looking opportunity to open the scoring, as Thomson picked up the ball on the edge of the area, thanks to some good play from Beck and Jack Muldoon, but his effort on goal sailed high over the crossbar.

Harrogate continued to press, with Kerry forcing a save from Roberts from twenty yards out just two minutes later, shortly before Muldoon fired wide.

The hosts opted to make their second change of the afternoon in the seventy-eighth minute, as Tyreik Wright made way for Rory Holden.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side able to create anything to test their opposition defences.

In the eighty-eighth minute, Emmanuel Osadebe received the only yellow card of the game, as he received a caution following a foul on Town captain, Josh Falkingham. The resulting free-kick seeing Thomson force Roberts to tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner, but the flag-kick would come to nothing.

Four additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, Thomson fired wide, but there was little further action of note and the referee brought a halt to the contest with the scores still tied as they had been at the start of the afternoon.

Overall, an improved performance from the Saddlers, though the lack of any end product remains a concern.


Banks's Stadium
Will Finnie
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