Match Report: Walsall 4 Hartlepool United 0 Match Report: Walsall 4 Hartlepool United 0

Match Report: Walsall 4 Hartlepool United 0

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' season-opening meeting with Hartlepool United.
Following a summer of change in S1, the Saddlers opened their 2022/23 campaign with a home tie against Hartlepool United in a match which gave fans their first chance to see their newly rebuilt squad in competitive action.

Hartlepool got the match underway, and the visiting side began the game brightly, winning a corner in just the fifth minute as Taylor Allen turned the ball behind, however nothing would come of the opportunity as Walsall won the ball back and cleared the danger.

Both sides saw plenty of the ball as the game continued, though neither were able to maintain possession for any extended period, making it difficult for either to create anything to trouble their opposition defences.

Thirteen minutes into the contest, Allen saw an effort from just inside the area saved, after some good play from Danny Johnson to work the ball to him.

With twenty-one minutes on the clock, Walsall found the breakthrough, as the side won a corner, which was played short and ultimately fell to Brandon Comley on the edge of the area, with the midfielder seeing his effort on goal deflect past Hartlepool shot-stopper, Ben Killip.

The Saddlers continued to press, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position in the twenty-fifth minute, which was fired goal-wards by Issac Hutchinson, but his effort sailed wide.

In the twenty-seventh minute, Walsall doubled their advantage, as Johnson demonstrated again why the Bescot based team were so keen to secure his services for the opening six months of the season, as he turned a Hutchinson cross goal-wards, seeing Killip deny the initial effort before firing the rebound home.

United went close to pulling a goal back in the twenty-ninth minute, as Josh Umerah worked his way into firing range, before unleashing a powerful effort on goal, but his shot whistled past the upright and the score remained unchanged.

Walsall had soon worked the ball back up to the other end, where they won a corner as Euan Murray turned the ball behind, but the Hartlepool man was on hand to ensure nothing would come of the opportunity as he cleared the cross in from Hayden White.

The visiting side looked to pull a goal back in the thirty-seventh minute, as some good work from Callum Cooke played in Umerah, but his cross into the area was blocked, as was one from Reghan Tumilty moments later.

Walsall sought a third goal before the break, with Johnson curling an effort in from range in the forty-second minute, but Killip was alert to the danger of the incoming shot and positioned himself well to make the save.

Moments before the board was shown to indicate that one additional minute would be played, the Saddlers were presented with an opportunity to make it three, as the ball fell to Allen on the edge of the area, but the midfielders powerful strike sailed narrowly over the bar.

That would be the final action of note for the first-half, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Walsall leading by two-goals-to-nil. A superb opening forty-five for the hosts.


The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. The Saddlers began the second-half brightly, winning a corner just one minute in, which Donervon Daniels swung into the box for Liam Kinsella, whose effort on goal had just a little too much height on it.

With fifty-three minutes on the clock, Alex Lacey became the first player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for a foul on Johnson.

Walsall continued to look the more likely to score as the game wore on, with Hutchinson picking out Allen with a cross from a free-kick in the fifty-fourth minute, but Tumilty was on hand for the visiting side and cleared the the latter's effort off the line.

With fifty-five minutes on the clock, Hartlepool opted to make their first change of the afternoon, with Ellis Taylor making way for Jack Hamilton.

Three minutes after the change, Walsall secured their third goal of the afternoon, as some lovely play from Hutchinson saw him break down the left before crossing the ball to Johnson who was waiting inside the box to turn it home.

Sixty-one minutes into the contest, Walsall went close to finding a fourth goal, as Hutchinson fired a low shot goal-wards, but Killip was able to get his feet in the way of the effort to keep his side to within three of their hosts.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the sixty-fifth minute, as a collision between Kinsella and Nicky Featherstone left both requiring attention. Fortunately both were able to re-join the action as play resumed.

Walsall chose to make a double change to their line-up in the sixty-eighth minute, as Brandon Comley and Donervon Daniels made way for Cambridge United loanee, Liam Bennett and Jack Earing.

The hosts continued to seek a fourth goal as the game continued, with Andy Williams firing narrowly wide in the seventieth minute, after some good work from Allen to work the ball to the striker.

In the seventy-third minute, United opted to make a second change, as Reghan Tumilty was replaced by Jamie Sterry.

Walsall continued to push for a fourth, and mere seconds after the Hartlepool change was completed, they found it. Johnson securing his hat-trick with a left-footed effort from close range, as he got on the end of a Manny Monthe pass.

That would be Danny Johnson's final contribution for the afternoon, as Douglas James-Taylor was brought on to take his place in the seventy-fourth minute.

James-Taylor looked to pick up where Johnson had left off, and almost added to the Saddlers tally with at the first opportunity, as he met a Hutchinson cross and fired goal-wards from the centre of the box, but Killip was able to make the save to deny him.

In the eightieth minute, Walsall chose to make their final two substitutions, with Issac Hutchinson and Andy Williams making way for Ronan Maher and Timmy Abraham.

Five minutes from time, Hartlepool went close to pulling a goal back, as Jake Hastie beat his man, but his initial effort on goal was saved by Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans, who also got a hand to his rebound shot to turn the ball behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

In the eighty-sixth minute, David Ferguson became the second player to see yellow, as he was booked for a foul on Maher.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time, Hartlepool went close again, as Umerah picked up the ball and fired goal-wards from range, with his effort sailing wide of the upright. Up at the other end, moments later, Allen also saw an effort sail wide, as the Saddlers continued to seek to increase their tally.

Unperturbed, Walsall continued to press late into the game, with James-Taylor playing Abraham in in the ninety-third minute, but his effort was denied by Killip who did well to turn the ball wide, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

That would be the final action of note, and the referee brought the contest to it's conclusion, with Walsall winning by four-goals-to-nil. A superb display all round from the new look Saddlers, let's hope it's a sign of things to come.

COMLEY (21')

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