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Match Report: Walsall 3 Newport County 3

Here is our Match Report from the New Year's Day meeting between the Saddlers and Newport County.
Heading into the match on the back of a three-nil triumph over Colchester United, along with a two-week break, the Saddlers were looking to begin 2022 with a win as they hope to edge closer to the Play-Off places.

Newport County began the game brightly, seeing much of the ball in the opening few minutes, with their early pressure paying off just four minutes into the contest, as the side won a free-kick in a dangerous position, which was crossed in and picked up by Dominic Telford who fired home from close range to give his side an early lead.

The visiting side continued to press, with Courtney Baker-Richardson looking to put his side two goals ahead in the sixth minute, with a headed effort from the centre of the box, which only narrowly missed the target, before Matthew Dolan fired wide from a direct free-kick two minutes later.

Walsall eventually began to grow into the game, with Liam Kinsella looking to play in Jack Earing in the twelfth minute, but long-range effort on goal was easily saved by County 'keeper, Nick Townsend.

With fifteen minutes on the clock, the Saddlers were presented with another opportunity to level the scores, as, under pressure, Townsend miscued a clearance, which ultimately allowed Emmanuel Osadebe a shot on goal, however his shot failed to trouble the man between the sticks as it sailed wide of the far post.

Newport had soon worked the ball back up to the other end, where Telford looked to double his tally for the afternoon, but Walsall shot-stopper, Carl Rushworth was well placed to prevent the effort finding the target.

The visiting side continued to test the Saddlers defences, with Scot Bennett crossing the ball in for Baker-Richardson in the twenty-first minute, but the defenders effort from the centre of the box, sailed wide.

The game settled a little as it continued, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball, without really troubling their opposition defences, though thirty-one minutes in, the Saddlers did win a free-kick in a dangerous spot, though it came to nothing as George Miller headed over.

Newport saw a couple of chances go begging as we entered the final five minutes of the half, with Telford heading a Cameron Norman cross wide, before Oliver Cooper saw a powerful effort punched clear by Rushworth.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to create anything further of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Newport leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HT
WFC
0-1
NCAFC
 
The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the match got back underway. The second-half got off to a rather quiet start, with little action of note from either side. However, seven minutes into the half, Walsall opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Kieran Phillips made way for Conor Wilkinson.

The change proved to be a touch of genius, as seconds after his introduction into the game, Wilkinson levelled the scores with his first touch of the ball. Otis Khan swinging a corner kick into the area for the substitute to volley home.

However, the adoration was short-lived, as just three minutes later, Wilkinson headed a Telford cross past Rushworth at the other end to restore the visiting sides earlier lead.

Courtney Baker-Richardson became the first player to see yellow, as he received a caution for a foul on Kinsella in the fifty-ninth minute.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, the Saddlers almost levelled the scores for a second time, but after some great work to get himself into position to shoot, Osadebe fired wide.

That proved to be Emmanuel Osadebe's final contribution of the afternoon, as just one minute later, he was replaced by Joss Labadie.

One minute after his introduction, Labadie joined Baker-Richardson in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on former Saddler, James Clarke.

Just one minute after the caution, Walsall were brought back onto level terms, as Dolan turned the ball into his own net.

However, the restoration of parity would be short lived, as one minute after that goal, Newport scored at the correct end, as an Aaron Lewis effort hit the bar only for Telford to turn the rebound home to restore his teams one-goal lead.

Fourteen minutes from time, Newport opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Cameron Norman making way for Ryan Haynes.

Moments after the change, the visiting side looked set to double their advantage, but somehow Rushworth managed to position himself to deny Baker-Richardson.

With eighty-two minutes on the clock, Walsall chose to make their third and final change of the game, with Jack Earing making way for Tyrese Shade.

Newport also took the chance to make another change to their line-up moments later, as Courtney Baker-Richardson was replaced by Alex Fisher.

With eighty-seven minutes on the clock, Newport chose to make their third and final change of the day, with Dominic Telford being replaced by Priestley Farquharson for the final few minutes.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time the Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty as Wilkinson was pulled down inside the area, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

The Saddlers continued to seek a late equaliser as time ran down, and their efforts paid off in the ninety-fifth minute, as Fizz Anan turned the ball out of play for a corner, which eventually fell to Wilkinson who fired home from the edge of the area.

That would be the last action of note, and the game ended with the sides sharing the points, having secured three-goals-apiece.

FT
WFC
3-3
NCAFC
Wilkinson (53')
Dolan OG (65')
Wilkinson (90+5') 
Telford (4') 
Wilkinson OG (56')
Telford (66')
VENUE
Banks's Stadium
ATTENDANCE
4,946 (722)
REFEREE
Rebecca Welch
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