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Match Report: Walsall 1 Scunthorpe United 1

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday's League Two clash between Walsall and Scunthorpe United.
Arriving at the match n the back of a trio of defeats, two in the league and one in the Carabao Cup, Matthew Taylor's Saddlers were looking to earn three welcome points as they looked to avoid an unwelcome extension of their winless run.

Scunthorpe got the match underway, and whilst the visiting side enjoyed plenty of early possession, it was Walsall who created the first chance of the game, as, in the third minute, Brendan Kiernan crossed the ball onto the head of Kieran Phillips whose effort on goal sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

Both sides enjoyed bright spells as they settled into the game, without creating too much to test their opposition defences, though twelve minutes in, Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth was brought into action to gather a cross and deny a shot on goal.

Walsall saw plenty of the ball as time wore on, thought they were unable to create any openings of note, until they won a corner in the seventeenth minute, as a Phillips cross was turned behind by Mason O'Malley. Earing crossed the ball into the box from the flag-kick, finding Conor Wilkinson who was unable to direct his headed effort on target.

Up at the other end, a few moments later, Scunthorpe created their first chance of the evening, as George Taft crossed the ball onto the head of Jai Rowe, but the midfielder sent his effort sailing narrowly wide of the upright.

With twenty-two minutes on the clock, the Iron won their first corner of the game, but nothing would come of the set-piece as O'Malley overhit a cross.

Another United corner followed just two minutes later, as Harry Bunn picked the ball up in a dangerous position before seeing a goal-bound effort blocked, but again nothing would come of the flag-kick as the ball was headed clear by the defending Saddlers.

Thirty-three minutes into the game, Hayden White became the first player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for felling Devarn Green as the Scunthorpe man looked to get through on goal.

The visiting side continued to press, and should have opened the scoring in the thirty-seventh minute, but a Tom Pugh was only able to find the crossbar as he headed goal-wards a deflected Bunn effort.

Seconds later, with the ball back at the other end, the Saddlers won a free-kick, which the wall were able to block, with the ball falling back into the path of set-piece taker, Wilkinson whose second attempt sailed inches wide of the upright.

There was a brief halt to proceedings as we reached the forty-first minute, allowing Pugh to receive treatment following a committed challenge from Liam Kinsella. Fortunately, he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

The Saddlers were presented with an opportunity to open the scoring as one additional minute was announced to end the first-half, but Stephen Ward was unable to keep his effort down. The hosts went on to win a corner kick before the break, which was played onto the head of Ash Taylor, whose flick goal-wards sailed narrowly over the crossbar.

That would be the final action of a reasonably entertaining first-half, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

HT
WFC
0-0
SUFC
 
Both teams returned unchanged following the break, and Walsall got the second-half underway. The Saddlers began the half brightly, with Wilkinson guiding a headed effort narrowly wide of the upright after some good play from Ward to get the cross in.

Unperturbed, Walsall continued to press, with the pressure paying off in the forty-seventh minute, as Phillips found himself in perfect position to take advantage as a poorly taken shot from Kiernan avoided the Scunthorpe defences, tapping the ball home from close range to open the scoring.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a bright spell, winning a couple of corners as their opposition were forced to turn the ball out of play to deny them, but neither came to anything as the Iron defences stood firm.

Scunthorpe began to see more of the ball as the half wore on, seeing an opportunity to level the scores go beginning in the fifty-eighth minute, as O'Malley picked out Green, but the latter was unable to direct his effort on target and the Iron remained a goal behind.

With sixty-five minutes on the clock, Scunthorpe opted to make their first change of the evening, with Jai Rowe making way for Cameron Wilson.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, without managing to trouble their opposition defences, though seventy-two minutes in, Wilkinson did see an effort blocked.

With seventy-six minutes played, Scunthorpe chose to make two further changes to their line-up, with both Mason O'Malley and George Taft making way as Harry Jessop and Lewis Thompson took their places.

In the seventy-ninth minute, Tom Pugh joined White in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul.

Nine minutes from time, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the evening, with Brendan Kiernan making way for Emmanuel Osadebe.

The visiting side were presented with a chance to level the scores moments later, as Wilson raced at Saddlers shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth, forcing the 'keeper into a poor clearance, which Alfie Beestin looked to capitalise on, but he failed to make the opportunity count as he fired wide.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the eighty-second minute, whilst Wilkinson received treatment, but it was soon determined he would be fine to continue and play resumed.

There was another short pause in the eighty-sixth minute, allowing White to receive treatment, but he was also able to continue.

The Iron continued to seek an equalising goal, with time fast running out, but Rushworth was alert and well placed to deny both Wilson and Thompson.

Not to be outdone, the hosts created a chance themselves in the eighty-eighth minute, with Earing firing goal-wards, but Pugh was on hand for the visiting side to ensure the Saddlers would remain in touching distance.

The hosts then chose to make their second change of the evening. Hayden White was forced to retire early due to the earlier injury, with Zak Mills the man to take his place.

As we reached the nintieth minute, the Iron drew level, as some good work from Pugh played in Beestin, who was left with little to do to turn the ball home and level the scores.

Five additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time, goal-scorer, Alfie Beestin was shown the yellow card for over-celebrating the goal, and the recently introduced Mills looked to help put his side back ahead with a lovely cross to Ward, who saw his effort blocked.

That would be the last action of note, aside from a late Scunthorpe corner which came to nothing, and the game was brought to a close with the scores tied at one-goal-apiece. A disappointing final few minutes for the Saddlers, who had looked set to claim their first win of the season. One point is surely better than none though.

FT
WFC
1-1
SUFC
Phillips (47') 
Beestin (90')
REFEREE
Tom Nield
ATTENDANCE
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