Match Report: Walsall 1 Harrogate Town 3 Match Report: Walsall 1 Harrogate Town 3
By: Bescot Banter •

Match Report: Walsall 1 Harrogate Town 3

Here is our Match Report from Saturday's Sky Bet League Two clash between the Saddlers and Harrogate Town.
Walsall arrived at the match on the back of a midweek EFL Trophy defeat to Forest Green Rovers, a defeat which was their first in over a month as they had enjoyed stellar form during an unbeaten October.

Following a moment of silence to remember the fallen, the game got underway. Just four minutes into the contest, Harrogate Town were presented with a chance to open the scoring, as Jack Earing conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position, with a foul on Luke Armstrong. Fortunately, for Walsall, nothing would come of the opportunity and play continued.

The teams took some time to settle into the game, with both seeing plenty of the ball, whilst struggling to test their opposition defences.

With thirteen minutes on the clock, Harrogate won the first corner of the match, as Hayden White turned the ball out of play. The flag-kick was played short for Danilo Orsi, whose headed effort from the centre of the box sailed wide of the upright.

A Walsall corner followed moments later, as Lewis Page put the ball behind at the other end, but Earing's in-swinging cross evaded all of his teammates.

Seventeen minutes into the contest, Josh Falkingham became the first player to see yellow, as he was booked following a foul on Tyrese Shade.

The Saddlers could have opened the scoring moments later, as a cross from White was met by George Miller, but the nothing would come of the chance as the ball sailed wide.

With twenty minutes on the clock, Harrogate took the lead. A foul by Emmanuel Osadebe gifting the visiting side a free-kick in a dangerous position, allowing Power to get on the end of a Jack Diamond cross to open the scoring.

Falkingham conceded a corner kick to the Saddlers in the twenty-fifth minute, which Earing swung into the box for Rollin Menayese, but the defender was unable to keep his headed effort down, sending the ball sailing over the crossbar.

Winning the ball in midfield and driving goal-wards in the twenty-eighth minute, Osadebe looked set to level the scores with a piece of individual brilliance, but, disappointingly, his final touch resulted in an effort which sailed high and wide of the target.

The Saddlers continued to press as they looked to level the scores, with Brendan Kiernan forcing a save from Town 'keeper, Mark Oxley in the thirty-first minute.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with neither side creating much to trouble their opposition defences.

One additional minute was eventually added to end the first-half, after which the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments, with Harrogate leading by one-goal-to-nil.

Walsall opted to make their first change of the afternoon as the teams returned, with Sam Perry sitting out the second-half as Otis Khan took his place.

The second-half got off to something of a slow start, but six minutes in, Diamond turned the ball behind to gift the Saddlers a corner, which the recently introduced Khan swung into the box for Menayese, but the defenders headed effort failed to trouble the man between the sticks as it sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.

The hosts saw plenty of the ball as the game continued, but struggled to find a way to really test the visiting defences, with much of the action contained within the midfield area.

Somewhat against the run of play, Harrogate were able to double their advantage in the sixty-first minute, as Diamond connected with an Orsi cross before racing into the box and firing past Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth from a tight angle.

In the sixty-third minute, the visiting side opted to make a double change to their line-up, with Danilo Orsi and Simon Power making way for Jack Muldoon and George Thomson.

The Saddlers were presented with an opportunity to pull a goal back two minutes later, but after some good work from White, Osadebe fired over.

With sixty-seven minutes played, the Saddlers chose to make a second change to their team, with Brendan Kiernan departing as Kieran Phillips took his place.

Phillips looked to make an immediate impact on the game, as he raced through the Harrogate defences and fired goal-wards, but Oxley remained alert to the danger and made the save.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the seventy-second minute, allowing Thomson to receive treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and play continued.

Hayden White became the second player to receive a caution, as he saw yellow in the seventy-third minute for a foul on Diamond.

Walsall continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, but struggled to breakdown the Harrogate defences, with little action of note.

Harrogate put the game to bed in the eighty-second minute, as Alex Pattison crossed the ball in to the near post, where Armstrong was waiting to turn the ball into the bottom corner. Far too easy for the visiting side.

Seconds after scoring the goal, Luke Armstrong became the third and final Harrogate player to be substituted, as Aaron Martin took his place for the final few minutes.

The Saddlers sought a late consolation, with Shade seeing an effort sail narrowly wide in the eighty-sixth minute, after some good work from Miller to get the ball to him.

The hosts went on to win a free-kick in a dangerous spot moments later, as Earing was fouled. The ball into the box was initially blocked, before being turned back in for Menayese whose effort on goal was denied by Oxley before Phillips secured a consolation goal as he connected with the rebound.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time, Rushworth pulled off a fine save to deny Diamond a second goal. There would be little further action of note though, and the game eventually drew to a close with Harrogate winning by three-goals-to-one.

Phillips (88')
Power (20') 
Diamond (61')
Armstrong (82')
REFEREE: Marc Edwards
ATT / AT: 4,651 (141) - Banks's Stadium
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