Match Report: Walsall 1 Stevenage 1 Match Report: Walsall 1 Stevenage 1

Match Report: Walsall 1 Stevenage 1

The Saddlers were back in action on Saturday as they welcomed Stevenage to town.
Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Steve Evans' Stevenage, in what was a battle of two of League Two's unbeaten sides.

Walsall got the match underway, but it was Stevenage who created the first opening of the game, as Jamie Reid picked out Jake Reeves with a cross into the box in the third minute, but a well-placed defender ensured nothing would come of the opportunity.

The sides took some time to settle into the game, with both seeing plenty of the early ball, whilst failing to create anything of note, the heat likely having an impact upon players' desire to attack.

Thirteen minutes into the contest, the visiting side failed to clear a long throw from Donervon Daniels, with the ball eventually falling to Danny Johnson, who coolly slotted home his fifth goal of the season.

Stevenage were quick to work the ball up to the other end, as they looked to get back on level terms, but Dan Sweeney was unable to beat Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans, with his headed effort.

Walsall almost made it two, just two minutes later, as Liam Kinsella crossed the ball into the area for Johnson, but the striker was unable to direct his headed effort on target, with the ball whistling past the post.

The end-to-end action continued, with Jake Taylor testing Evans in the nineteenth minute, as he got a toe to a low cross, but the Walsall 'keeper was alert to the danger and got down well to prevent the strike from finding the bottom corner.

The visiting side continued to enjoy a good spell of play, and went close again in the twenty-second minute, as Jamie Reid cut inside and fired an effort goal-wards from just outside the area, but the shot failed to test Evans as it sailed wide of the upright.

With the heat taking its toll, the game settled into something of a midfield battle after the first of the afternoon drinks breaks was completed, with both sides enjoying spells in possession, whilst creating little of note, though thirty-five minutes into the contest, Reid did see an effort blocked.

Stevenage felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the forty-first minute, as Taylor went down inside the area, but the referee waved away their appeals and play continued.

The visiting side continued to seek a late equalising goal before the break, but Carl Piergianni's forty-third minute shot from the edge of the area sailed high over the crossbar.

Four 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 Walsall leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HALF-TIME SCORE
WALSALL 1-0 STEVENAGE

Stevenage opted to make two changes to their line-up as the sides returned, with Michael Bostwick and Saxon Earley sitting out the second-half, as Dean Campbell and Max Clark took their places.

The visitors began the second-half brightly, but it Walsall who created the first chance as, in the fifty-second minute, Daniels found himself in space, twenty yards from goal, but his strike sailed wide of the far post.

There was a brief halt in proceedings in the fifty-sixth minute, whilst Terence Vancooten received treatment, but the defender was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, Stevenage opted to make two further changes to their line-up, with Jake Taylor and Luke Norris making way for Jordan Roberts and Danny Rose.

Stevenage were presented with a chance to level the scores in the sixty-fourth minute, as they were awarded a free-kick twenty-five yards from goal, but nothing would come of the opportunity as they failed to beat the wall.

The Saddlers were quick to work the ball up to the other end, having regained possession following the free-kick, and should probably have doubled their advantage as Williams played in Johnson, but with just a little too much on the cross, Danny was unable to do anything but poke the ball wide.

In the sixty-seventh minute, Walsall chose to make their first change of the afternoon, as Isaac Hutchinson made way for Tom Knowles.

Walsall went close again shortly after the change was completed, but Johnson's effort from the edge of the area sailed over, before Daniels headed wide moments later.

With seventy minutes on the clock, Tom Knowles became the first player to see his name entered into the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Roberts.

Seventy-two minutes into the contest, Stevenage chose to make their fifth and final change of the afternoon, replacing Carl Piergianni with Arthur Read for the final twenty minutes.

Two minutes after the change was completed, the visiting side were a little unlucky not to restore parity, as Campbell connected with a cross on the edge of the area, but his powerfully struck effort sailed inches over the crossbar, and moments later Reid saw an effort blocked.

Walsall chose to introduce their second substitute of the game in the seventy-sixth minute, as Danny Johnson made way for Jack Earing.

Neither side were able to create much during the final fifteen minutes of play, before eight additional minutes were added to end the game.

Two minutes into the eight, Owen Evans became the second player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for wasting time, and Jordan Roberts joined the Walsall 'keeper in the referee's notebook three minutes later, as he was shown the yellow card following a foul on Earing.

There was little further action of note though Reid did see an effort turned behind for a corner, which came to nothing, in ninety-seventh minute.

With play continuing into the hundredth minute, Stevenage were eventually able to score the goal which had eluded them all afternoon. Rose heading home a Read cross to level the scores.

That would be the final action of note, and the game was brought to it's conclusion with the sides sharing the spoils.

FULL-TIME SCORE
WALSALL 1-1 STEVENAGE
JOHNSON (13') ROSE (90+10)
AT POUNDLAND BESCOT STADIUM
ATTENDANCE 5,079 (207)
REFEREE CHARLES BREAKSPEAR
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