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Match Report: Mansfield Town 2 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Mansfield Town.
After suffering a disappointing defeat to Stevenage last weekend, a match which saw their brief unbeaten run brought to an end, the Saddlers were looking to return to winning ways as they made the trip to Field Mill to take on in-form Mansfield Town.

The teams took their time to settle into the game, both seeing plenty of the early ball without causing concern to their opposition defences, though four minutes into the contest, Walsall goalkeeper, Carl Rushworth did have to gather a cross from Stephen Quinn to prevent a shot at goal.

Mansfield Town continued to grow into the game, and almost opened the scoring just seven minutes in, as Jordan Bowery lifted the ball over Rushworth, but Tom Leak was on hand to clear the ball off the line and spare his 'keeper's blushes.

The Saddlers were presented with a chance to open the scoring themselves in the thirteenth minute, as a Hayden White throw found Tyrese Shade, but the Leicester City loanee was unable to find the target with his effort on goal.

The home side continued to see much of the ball as the game progressed, but they were unable to make use of it as the Saddlers ensured much of the action was focussed around the midfield area, until Bowery found a route through in the twentieth minute, with Rushworth doing well to deny him at the near post. Quinn picked out Stephen McLaughlin from the resulting corner, forcing another clearance off the line from the visiting defences.

Mansfield won a free-kick in a dangerous spot, twenty-seven minutes into the contest, as George Maris was tripped, but the chance would ultimately come to nothing as a header back across goal from Oliver Hawkins evaded everyone.

The hosts continued to press, with Quinn crossing the ball to Ollie Clarke in the thirty-fifth minute, but the Mansfield captain was unable to find the target with an effort which sailed wide of Rushworth's upright.

Moments later, at the other end, Shade combined with George Miller to force a save from Mansfield 'keeper, Nathan Bishop.

After a very quiet ten minutes, the board went up to indicate that one additional minute would be added to end the first-half.
 
There was little further action of note, though Oliver Hawkins was shown the first yellow card of the game following a foul on Miller, with the resulting free-kick coming to nothing, and the teams headed off for their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

HT
MTFC
0-0
WFC
 
Mansfield opted to make a change as the teams returned from their break, with Ollie Clarke sitting out the second-half, as Harry Charsley took his place.

Walsall began the half brightly, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position just four minutes after the restart. The ball eventually fell to Brendan Kiernan on the left of the box, but his effort on goal failed to test the man between the sticks as it sailed high and wide.

The Saddlers went on to win a corner four minutes later, as John-Joe O'Toole was forced to turn the ball out play, but the flag-kick would come to nothing as the sides continued to cancel one another out.

Fifty-five minutes into the contest, the Saddlers looked all but certain to open the scoring, as White played in Miller with a delightful through-ball, but after beating a couple of defenders, the Walsall man was thwarted by Maris who cleared the ball off the line.

Mansfield had more luck at the other end two minutes later, as an Elliott Hewitt throw was headed on by Hawkins for Charsley, who found the back of the net with a neat left-footed strike from close range.

The home team continued to press, with Bowery dragging an effort wide in the sixty-second minute, before firing over from the edge of the area two minutes later.

With sixty-eight minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Tyrese Shade making way as Kieran Phillips took his place.

Just four minutes later, a second Walsall change followed, as Brendan Kiernan was replaced by Conor Wilkinson.

Rushworth kept his side in the game with a superb double save in the seventy-seventh minute, denying first Quinn, before making a superb save to prevent Charsley capitalising.

Walsall were quick to work the ball up to the other end, where Miller created space to shoot, forcing Bishop to tip his curling effort over the crossbar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Six minutes from time, Walsall opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon, as captain, Joss Labadie was replaced by Shay Willock.

With eighty-eight minutes on the clock, the hosts put the game to bed. The half-time substitution proving to be an inspired move from Mansfield manager, Nigel Clough, as Charsley bagged his second goal of the afternoon, as he got on the end of a Bowery cross and fired home from a tight angle.

Three additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time Town opted to introduce their final two substitutes. Rhys Oates and Oliver Hawkins the two men to depart early, as Danny Johnson and James Gale joined the fray. There was little football for either, though, as the game ended moments later with Mansfield holding on to their two-goal advantage to secure all three points.

FT
MTFC
2-0
WFC
Charsley (57')
Charsley (88') 
 
 
VENUE
Field Mill
ATTENDANCE
5,278 (884')
REFEREE
Ross Joyce
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