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Match Report: Walsall 3 Mansfield Town 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two clash between the Saddlers and Stags.
Arriving at the game on the back of a draw with promotion-chasing Bradford City, Matthew Taylor's Saddlers were looking to make it three unbeaten as they welcomed suddenly struggling Mansfield Town to WS1.

Walsall began the game brightly, though it was Mansfield Town who created the opening chance of the contest, as Tyrese Sinclair played a neat ball across the box, which somehow evaded his teammates.

With just six minutes on the clock, the Saddlers had more luck at the other end, as a long ball from Kieran Phillips was met by George Miller, who beat Town 'keeper, Nathan Bishop with a lovely low strike which nestled in the bottom corner.

Unperturbed, Mansfield soon had the ball back up at the other end, where Sinclair looked to turn provider as he played in Rhys Oates, but the striker failed to worry Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth with an effort which sailed harmlessly wide of the upright.

Mansfield continued to enjoy a bright spell, and gave Rushworth more to do in the eleventh minute, as Kellan Gordon and Oliver Hawkins combined to test the 'keeper, who was not found wanting as he calmly prevented a headed effort finding its target.

The visiting side went on to win a free-kick in a dangerous position in the fourteenth minute, but Sinclair was unable to keep his low effort on target, sending the ball wide.

Moments later, back at the other end, Miller looked to secure a second goal, with a twenty-five yard volley which struck the crossbar. Tyrese Shade was on hand to collect the rebound, and Bishop struggled to hold his effort, though his blushes were spared as Brendan Kiernan failed to get a touch on the loose ball.

Seventeen minutes in, Rushworth was again called into action to keep his sides lead intact, with the shot-stopper pulling off a fine save to tip a glancing header from Hawkins over the bar. The resulting corner coming to nothing.

With twenty-two minutes on the clock, the Saddlers won a corner, from which they doubled their advantage. A lovely cross into the area from Jack Earing meeting the head of Ash Taylor who nodded home from close range.

Mansfield attempted to reduce their deficit soon after, but Hawkins was unable to direct a tasty Sinclair cross home in the twenty-eighth minute.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as we raced passed the half hour mark, with Mansfield seeing much of the ball without finding a way to test their opposition defences.

There was little further action of note, as the two sides cancelled each other out, but forty-two minutes in, the Saddlers did win a corner as Elliott Hewitt turned the ball out of play, but the hosts were unable to repeat their earlier feat and the score remained unchanged.

With forty-four minutes on the clock, Elliott Hewitt became the first player to see yellow, as he received a caution for a foul on Kiernan.

Four additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time Bishop was forced to make a superb save to deny Kiernan, who collected a long ball over the top from Hayden White and fired goal-wards. The resulting corner saw the ball crossed into the box by Earing, and headed goal-wards by Manny Monthe, but the effort sailed over the crossbar.

That would be the final action of note, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with Walsall leading by two-goals-to-nil.

HT
WFC
2-0
MTFC
 
Mansfield opted to make a double change to their line-up ahead of the re-start, with Elliott Hewitt and Rhys Oates sitting out the second-half as Farrend Rawson and Danny Johnson took their places.

Just three minutes after play resumed, Walsall all but put the game to bed, securing their third goal of the afternoon as Miller beat his man and coolly slotted the ball past Bishop.

The match settled back into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both teams enjoying time with the ball though failing to test their opposition defences.

As we reached the hour mark, the Saddlers almost secured a fourth goal, but Bishop managed to get enough on Monthe's long-range effort to tip it over the bar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, the visiting side opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon, as George Maris was replaced by Jordan Bowery.

Walsall were a little unlucky not to further extend their lead in the seventy-first minute, but Earing fired his effort narrowly over the crossbar.

With seventy-two minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make their first substitution of the afternoon, with Tyrese Shade making way for Emmanuel Osadebe.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a good spell, with Miller forcing another save from Bishop in the seventy-third minute, with an effort which looked destined for the bottom corner. The resulting corner coming to nothing.

There was a brief stoppage in play in the seventy-seventh minute, allowing Ryan Stirk to receive treatment to a head injury, but he was soon back to his feet and play resumed.

Mansfield began to enjoy a brighter spell as we entered the final ten minutes of the game, with George Lapslie forcing a save from Rushworth in the eighty-second minute. The flag-kick ultimately coming to nothing.

With eighty-three minutes on the clock, both Manny Monthe and Oliver Hawkins were shown the yellow card following a coming together.

Just one minute after that, the visiting side pulled a goal back, as Johnson fired home from close range following a corner.

As we reached the ninetieth minute, the Saddlers opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Kieran Phillips making way for Sam Perry as the officials indicated four additional minutes would be played.

During the final few moments of the game, Hawkins forced a save from Rushworth with a headed effort, but there was little further action of note and the referee brought a halt to the contest with the Saddlers winning by three-goals-to-one. A decent display from the home side who took their chances well.

FT
WFC
3-1
MTFC
Miller (6')
Taylor (22')
Miller (48') 
Johnson (84')
 

REFEREE
David ROCK
ATT / AT
- Banks's Stadium

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