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Match Report: Walsall 2 Barrow 2

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's League Two meeting between the Saddlers and Barrow.
Walsall arrived at the match on the back of a welcome unbeaten run and in search of more points as they looked to continue their recent climb towards the relative safety of mid-table.

Buoyed by their midweek win over Oldham Athletic, Matthew Taylor's side had been in fine form ahead of kick-off as they looked to have put their early-season struggles behind them.
 
Walsall began the game brightly, seeing much of the early ball, and just three minutes in, they could have opened the scoring as Conor Wilkinson fired a powerful effort goal-wards, forcing Barrow 'keeper, Paul Farman to push the ball out of play to deny him.

The resulting corner eventually fell to George Miller inside the area, and the striker took his chance well, firing past Farman to gift his side an early lead.

The Saddlers continued to dominate as the game went on, with Miller seeing a well-aimed shot saved by Farman in the ninth minute, before the busy 'keeper denied Wilkinson from a free-kick moments later.

Kieran Phillips looked to extend the hosts lead in the twelfth minute, but his low shot at goal sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

Things began to settle a little as we reached the quarter hour mark, with Barrow able to stem the tide a little, whilst Walsall continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession.

With eighteen minutes on the clock, the Saddlers were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, from which Jack Earing was able to test Farman with a curling effort, but the man between the sticks was equal to it.

Twenty-four minutes into the contest, Ollie Banks became the first player to see yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Emmanuel Osadebe.

Barrow began to grow into the game more as it continued, seeing more of the ball, though they remained unable to trouble the Walsall defences.

Five minutes after the first yellow card of the game was shown, a second was waved in the direction of Joe Grayson, who received a caution after he fouled Phillips.

The visiting defences continued to struggle to contain the Saddlers, with Patrick Brough joining those already listed in the referee's notebook, in the thirty-second minute, receiving a yellow card for a foul on Miller.

The Saddlers were presented with another opportunity to extend their lead in the thirty-fourth minute, as Osadebe fired goal-wards from the edge of the area, but his curling effort sailed wide.

With thirty-six minutes on the clock, Barrow equalised. Josh Kay and Rameao Hutton combining well to set up an on-rushing George Williams, who fired past Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth, to secure his first goal in Barrow colours.

Walsall looked to respond quickly, but Osadebe was unable to beat Farman with a curling fortieth minute effort.

The visiting side had a chance to put themselves ahead for the first time in the game, just two minutes after that, winning a free-kick in a dangerous spot, but George Williams was unable to beat Rushworth in the Walsall goal, with the 'keeper able to tip the ball over the bar. The resulting corner coming to nothing.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but there was little further action of note, and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores tied at one-goal-apiece

HT
WFC
1-1
BAFC
 
The sides returned unchanged following the break, and the action got back underway. The second-half got off to a slower start than the first, with both sides taking time to settle back into the game. Barrow saw plenty of early possession, but were unable to test the Saddlers defences as much of the action was contained within the midfield area.

Barrow saw a fourth player booked in the fifty-third minute. Jordan Stevens picking up a yellow card for a foul on Hayden White. The resulting free-kick saw Earing swing the ball into the box for Rollin Menayese who headed goal-wards from close range, but he was unable to find the target with his effort.

The Saddlers continued to enjoy a bright spell, with Wilkinson picking out Joss Labadie with a cross into the box in the fifty-ninth minute, but the Walsall captain saw his effort saved by Farman.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, Walsall restored their earlier advantage, as White swung a cross into the box for Miller, whose deft touch turned the ball past the Barrow shot-stopper and into the bottom corner.

Moments after the goal, Walsall opted to make the first change of the afternoon, with Kieran Phillips making way for Tyrese Shade.

As the change was completed, Josh Kay became the fifth Barrow man to see his name taken by the referee.

With sixty-nine minutes played, Barrow chose to make their first change of the afternoon, as George Williams made way for Tom White.

Barrow set about looking to put themselves back on level terms, and fifteen minutes from time, were presented with a chance to do so after some good work from Hutton played Kay in, but the striker was unable to make a clean connection with the ball and the Saddlers defences mopped up.

With seventy-six minutes on the clock, Barrow opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Jordan Stevens making way for Luke James.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the eighty-first minute, allowing White to receive treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Barrow continued to seek a second goal late into the game, as they looked to take at least a point home with them, but a deflected Banks effort from range was gathered by Rushworth in the eighty-fourth minute.

With eighty-seven minutes on the clock, Walsall opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Emmanuel Osadebe the man to make way as Sam Perry joined the action.

Five minutes were added to end the match, and two minutes into them, Hayden White became the first Walsall man to see yellow, as he was booked for a foul on James. Just one minute later, George Miller became the second Saddler to enter the referee's notebook, as he picked up a caution for time wasting.

Barrow continued to seek a late goal as time ebbed away, with Josh Gordon a little unlucky not to connect with a Brough cross four minutes into injury time.

Former Saddler, Gordon, had more luck in front of goal just two minutes later, as he secured a last-gasp equaliser and a point for his team as he connected with a Brough cross and headed home from close range.

Late heartache for the Saddlers, who had done well to thwart their visitors earlier chances, as Barrow grew more and more into the game.

FT
WFC
2-2
BAFC
Miller (4')
Miller (62') 
Williams (36')
Gordon (90+6')
REFEREE
Andy Haines
ATT / AT
4,508 (224) - Banks's Stadium
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