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Match Report: Hartlepool United 2 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between the Saddlers and Hartlepool United.
The Saddlers arrived at the match in need of a positive performance and, following defeats to Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green Rovers along with a draw with Scunthorpe United, a first win of the 2021/22 campaign.

Hartlepool United got the match underway, and it wasn't long before the hosts created the first chance of the game, as Tyler Burey got on the end of a David Ferguson cross and sent an effort goal-wards from outside the area, however the shot lacked power and Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth gathered.

The Saddlers had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where Jack Earing was waiting to pounce from the edge of the area, but he too saw his efforts come to nothing, as his shot sailed wide of the upright.

Walsall continued to enjoy a bright spell, seeing plenty of the ball and creating a second opening in just the sixth minute, as Hayden White worked the ball into the path of Kieran Phillips, who was unlucky not to find the on-rushing Brendan Kieran with a cross into the box.

Walsall continued to see much of the ball as the game wore on, keeping possession well, though they struggled to break through the Hartlepool defences.

With twenty-three minutes on the clock, a burst of pace from Burey saw the striker beat Ash Taylor before firing his side ahead, with a neat finish into the top corner.

Four minutes later, the Saddlers looked odds on to equalise, as a superb run from Kiernan allowed the midfielder space to cross the ball into the box where Conor Wilkinson was waiting to strike, but United shot-stopper, Ben Killip got enough of a touch to tip the ball over the bar and the resulting corner came to nothing.

Rollin Manayese became the first player to receive a caution, as he was shown the yellow card in the thirty-second minute for a foul on Will Goodwin.

The pace slowed a little as we neared the break, but five minutes after the booking incident, the home team were presented with a chance to double their advantage, but Burey was not able to beat Rushworth with his headed effort and the Saddlers remained in touching distance.

There was little further action of note, and after one additional minute was played, the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with Hartlepool leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HT
HUFC
1-0
WFC
 
The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the match back underway. Hartlepool began the second-half brightly, causing the Saddlers defences issues just three minutes in, as both Gavan Holohan and Goodwin saw chances go begging before the visitors were awarded a free-kick which alleviated the pressure, temporarily at least.

Hartlepool continued to cause problems for the Saddlers defences, with Goodwin glancing a header wide in the fiftieth minute.

The hosts refused to let up as they pressed for a second, with Mark Shelton heading wide in the fifty-second minute.

There was a brief pause in proceedings in the fifty-third minute, allowing Rushworth to receive treatment following a collision. Fortunately for the Saddlers, after an anxious few moments, the goalkeeper was back on his feet and deemed able to continue.

He would be put to the test shortly after the Saddlers made a fifty-fifth minute substitution; Sam Perry making way for Emmanuel Osadebe seconds before a Hartlepool penalty was awarded for a handball incident inside the area.

Nicky Featherstone stepped up to take the spot-kick against his former side, and duly converted, giving his current side a two-goal cushion over the Saddlers.

United continued to cause problems for the Walsall defences as the match continued, with Goodwin forcing another save from Rushworth shortly after we reached the hour mark; the goalkeeper doing just enough to push the effort away.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, the under pressure Saddlers opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Ash Taylor making way as Manny Monthé entered the fray.

Hartlepool continued to pile on the pressure, and should have secured a third goal in the sixty-fourth minute, but an unfortunate deflection off Goodwin denied David Ferguson.

Walsall were finally able to create something up at the other end after that, thanks to a break from Liam Kinsella, but the move ultimately faltered as Osadebe's effort on goal trickled wide.

The Saddlers' resurgence was short-lived, and the home team had soon worked the ball back into the danger zone at the other end, winning a corner for their troubles, which ultimately came to nothing.

In the sixty-eighth minute, Zaine Francis-Angol became the second player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for time-wasting.

With seventy-two minutes on the clock, Hartlepool chose to make their first change of the afternoon, as scorer of the opening goal, Tyler Burey was replaced by Luke Molyneux.

The frenetic pace slowed a little after the change, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball without troubling their opposition defences.

The home side almost stretched their lead again ten minutes from time, as they broke down the right channel, but a superb last gasp tackle from Kinsella ensured the scores would remain unchanged.

With eighty-five minutes on the clock, Will Goodwin joined those on a yellow card, as he was cautioned for arguing after being caught in an offside position as Francis-Angol looked to play him through on goal.

That would be the last real action Will Goodwin would see, as his manager opted to make a second change to his team in the eighty-eighth minute. Reagan Ogle the man to take his place.

As we reached the ninetieth minute, Gary Liddle joined the growing ranks listed in the referee's notebook, as he received a caution for a foul on Phillips.

Five additional minutes were added to end the game, but there was little further action of note, and the game drew to a close with Hartlepool's two goal lead intact. Another disappointing afternoon for the Saddlers, who, despite seeing plenty of the ball, failed to really offer a test to their opposition.

FT
HUFC
2-0
WFC
Burey (23')
Featherstone [P] (57') 
 
 
VENUE
VICTORIA PARK
ATTENDANCE
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