Match Report: Northampton Town 1 Walsall 1 Match Report: Northampton Town 1 Walsall 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Northampton Town 1 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Northampton Town.
Arriving at the match on the back of a welcome win over Hartlepool United, Michael Flynn's Saddlers were looking to earn a fourth win in five league games as they made the trip to Sixfields Stadium.

Northampton Town began the game brightly and took full advantage of Walsall's defensive frailties just four minutes in, as the ball was played back to Carl Rushworth in the Saddlers goal, with the 'keepers clearance making it only as far as Mitchell Pinnock, who resisted attempts by Jack Earing to bring him down and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to give his side an early lead.

Walsall looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, but Conor Wilkinson was unable to guide a seventh minute, Earing cross home.

The hosts had soon worked the ball back up to the other end though, where Joseph Mills looked to play in Sam Hoskins, however, the strikers shot from thirty-five yards out sailed wide of the mark.

The Saddlers continued to seek to level the scores, winning the ball back and forcing a corner in the fifteenth minute, as a George Miller effort was deflected behind. Joss Labadie fired a powerful effort goal-wards moments later, but former Walsall 'keeper, Liam Roberts was alert to the danger and pushed the effort clear, allowing Emmanuel Osadebe to collect the ball and cross to Manny Monthe, whose headed effort cleared the crossbar.

Northampton soon had the ball back at the other end, where Pinnock looked to turn provider, playing in Louis Appéré, whose effort sailed narrowly wide of the target. The hosts continued to press, with Pinnock seeing an effort of his own blocked, two minutes later, before Jon Guthrie headed wide.

The home side continued to cause problems for the Walsall defences, with Appéré and Pinnock combining well in the twenty-seventh minute to play in Sam Hoskins, who fired goal-wards from outside the area, forcing Rushworth to make a save to deny the goal.

With twenty-nine minutes on the clock, Walsall captain, Joss Labadie became the first person to see his name taken by the referee, as he was cautioned after getting into an argument.

Town continued to seek a second goal as the game wore on, and were thwarted only by Rushworth again in the thirty-third minute, as the goalkeeper positioned himself well to deny Pinnock, after some good play from Aaron McGowan and Appéré set him up.

Rushworth was again called into action two minutes later, as Northampton skipper, Joseph Mills crossed the ball onto the head of Hoskins, whose nod goal-wards was well saved by the Saddlers shot-stopper.

Walsall were a little unlucky not to level the game in the forty-third minute, as Wilkinson attempted to find the target from twenty-five yards out, with his dipping effort sailing narrowly over the crossbar.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side were able to create any further chances of note, and the teams headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Northampton leading by one-goal-to-nil at the break.

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the match got back underway. Just three minutes after the second-half began, Tyler Magloire joined Labadie on a caution, as he was shown the yellow card for a foul on Wilkinson.

Just five minutes after the restart, Walsall levelled the scores, as Miller played the ball to Wilkinson, who fired emphatically into the bottom corner from the edge of the area to restore parity.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, though eight minutes after scoring their first goal of the evening, the Saddlers could have added a second as Tyrese Shade and Monthe combined, however, the latter saw his headed effort easily saved by Roberts.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, Joseph Mills became the third player to be shown the yellow card, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Osadebe.

Just one minute after the booking, the Saddlers were presented with another chance to take the lead, winning a corner as Osadebe saw an effort blocked.

Earing swung the ball into the box from the flag-kick, where Wilkinson was waiting at the near post, but his effort on goal sailed narrowly wide of the upright.

In the sixty-sixth minute, Northampton opted to make their first change of the evening, with Joseph Mills making way for Ali Koiki. The Saddlers also took the opportunity to make a substitution, as George Miller was replaced by Devante Rodney.

Town created their first real chance of note in the second-half, in the sixty-eighth minute, but Hoskins was unable to keep his effort on target, firing wide from outside the area.

With twenty minutes still to play, Paul Lewis caught the attention of the referee with a foul on Osadebe and was duly cautioned, and the resulting free-kick saw Wilkinson draw a fine save from Roberts.

That would be the final action of the evening for Conor Wilkinson, who was replaced by Lee Tomlin fifteen minutes from time.

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

With ten minutes of the game remaining, the hosts opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Paul Lewis making way for Josh Eppiah.

The final ten minutes of the match were a quiet affair, though three minutes from time, the Saddlers did win a corner, as Koiki turned the ball out of play, though nothing would come of the flag-kick.

As four additional minutes were announced, Northampton opted to make their third and final change of the game, with Louis Appéré making way for Danny Rose.

Two minutes into extra time, Northampton created arguably their best chance of the second-half, as they won a corner, which was flicked onto the head of Hoskins, whose nod goal-wards connected with the post, before the danger was cleared.

That would be the final action of note though, and the game ended with the scores unchanged, the teams each taking a point away from the contest.

Pinnock (4') 
Wilkinson (50')
Paul Howard
4,861 (385) - Sixfields Stadium
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