Match Report: Harrogate Town 1 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Harrogate Town.
Heading into the match on the back of a midweek victory over Oldham Athletic, the Saddlers were looking to make it six unbeaten and add to their already handsome advantage over the teams in the relegation zone.

Walsall began the game brightly, seeing much of the early possession and winning a corner just two minutes into the contest, as George Thomson turned the ball out of play, however nothing would come of the flag-kick as the Harrogate Town defences stood firm.

Just nine minutes into the game, the referee was forced to reach into his pocket for the first time, as a foul on Liam Kinsella by Nathan Sheron saw the perpetrator cautioned.  The resulting free-kick was played into the are by Emmanuel Osadebe, who picked out Donervon Daniels with his cross, but the defender was unable to find the target with his headed effort.

The Saddlers continued to look dangerous, with Tyrese Shade going close in the twelfth minute, with a shot from close range, which was ultimately blocked, and another Walsall corner followed moments later, as Mark Oxley turned the ball behind, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

Harrogate began to grow into the game as we neared the half-way point in the first-half, winning a corner in the seventeenth minute, which came to nothing, before Jack Diamond drew a save from Walsall goalkeeper, Carl Rushworth, four minutes later, as he looked to turn a Jack Muldoon cross home.

With twenty-three minutes on the clock, Liam Kinsella joined Sheron in the referee's notebook, as he picked up an early caution for a foul on Muldoon.

As we reached the half-hour mark, Harrogate created their best chance of the game to date, as Ryan Fallowfield took the ball from Manny Monthe, and raced goal-wards, but his effort on goal would not find the target as he dragged the ball wide of the far post.

The hosts continued to press, forcing a corner in the thirty-second minute, which came to nothing, but lead to a second as Shade turned the ball out of play, however, that too would come to nought as the Saddlers defences stood firm.

The Saddlers defences were granted a moments respite in the thirty-fourth minute, as their side worked the ball up to the other end, where Joss Labadie looked to play Osadebe through on goal, but the latter was unable to find the target with his effort from outside the box, and the hosts came away with the ball.

Town were quick to work the ball back upfield, where Alexander Pattison beat Hayden White to the ball and played it across the face of goal, with Mark Beck waiting inside the box, however, the striker was unable to get a touch on it and nothing would come of the opportunity.

Unperturbed, the hosts continued to press, with Pattison forcing a save from Rushworth just one minute later, with the Saddlers shot-stopper then having to recover quickly to deny Muldoon with a follow-up effort.

The game slowed just a little after that, and forty-two minutes into the contest, the Saddlers found themselves in shooting range again, somewhat against the run of play, as Conor Wilkinson created space for himself twenty yards from goal, but his low effort caught the near post and failed to reach the back of the net.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but there was little further action of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the scores still tied.

HT
HTFC
0-0
WFC
 
The teams returned unchanged following the break, and the match got back underway. Both sides took some time to settle back into the game, seeing plenty of the ball, without creating any chances of note, until the fifty-second minute, when Osadebe played in Shade, who was a little unlucky to see his curling effort sail wide.

Just ten minutes after the re-start, Walsall opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with George Miller making way for Devante Rodney.

As we reached the hour mark, the Saddlers were awarded a penalty, as the Harrogate 'keeper felled Labadie inside the area. Wilkinson stepped forth to take the spot-kick, and duly converted to put his side ahead.

The home side looked to restore parity quickly, and went close to doing so in the sixty-third minute, but after some good play from Muldoon, Beck was unable to keep his effort on target, turning the ball over the crossbar.

The Saddlers soon had the ball back at the other end, where they sought to add to their tally as they won a corner. The ball into the box from Wilkinson looked promising, but Osadebe was unable to direct his headed effort on target and nothing would come of the opportunity.

Just two minutes later, in the sixty-eighth minute, Diamond saw an effort blocked at the other end, after some good play from Richards to set him up.

With seventy minutes on the clock, Lewis Richards joined those already on a caution, as he saw yellow for a foul on Kinsella.

The end-to-end contest continued, with Labadie teeing up Shade in the seventy-first minute, however nothing would come of the chance as the defenders effort was blocked, and moments later, Rodney saw an effort saved by Oxley.

Harrogate opted to make a double change to their line-up in the seventy-fifth minute, with captain, Warren Burrell and Jack Muldoon making way for Simon Power and Calum Kavanagh.

Moments after the changes were completed, the hosts created a chance to level the scores, but Diamond's effort from outside the box failed to test Rushworth as it sailed wide of the upright.

With seventy-seven minutes on the clock, Hayden White joined the list of players to have had their name taken by the referee, as he was cautioned following a foul on the recently introduced, Kavanagh.

Ten minutes from time, the yellow was back on show, as Jack Diamond was cautioned for a late challenge on Labadie.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle during the final ten minutes, with both teams enjoying time on the ball without creating anything to test their opposition defences.

With eighty-seven minutes on the clock, Conor Wilkinson became the sixth player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for time-wasting.

A seventh caution followed in the eighty-eighth minute, as Devante Rodney was booked following a foul on Rory McArdle.

As the board went up to indicate that four additional minutes would be played, Harrogate went close to levelling the scores, as substitutes Kavanagh and Power combined to test the man between the sticks, however, Rushworth was alert to the danger and did well to deny the latter.

Three minutes into the additional four, George Thomson's name was added to the referee's notebook, as he was booked for a foul on Jack Earing.

In the final minute of the game, Kavanagh found the breakthrough, as he headed home a Diamond cross from close range.

That would be the final action of note, as the referee brought an end to the contest seconds later. A disappointing end to the contest for the Saddlers, who had looked set to take all three points.

FT
HTFC
1-1
WFC
Kavanagh (90+4')
Wilkinson [P] (60')
REFEREE
Declan Bourne
ATTENDANCE
2,570 (574)
AT
Wetherby Road
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