Match Report: Mansfield Town 2 Walsall 1 Match Report: Mansfield Town 2 Walsall 1

Match Report: Mansfield Town 2 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Mansfield Town.
Walsall were looking to make it three wins in as many games as they made the trip to Field Mill where they were to take on Mansfield Town in their fourteenth League Two outing of the already rapidly disappearing campaign.

After picking up wins over Northampton Town and AFC Wimbledon, the Saddlers were tasked with taking points off the in-form Stags, a side which hadn't tasted defeat in any of their last six league games.

The match got off to a slow start as the sides took time to settle into the contest. The opening ten minutes saw both teams enjoy spells on the ball, without creating anything to really test their opposition defences.

Ten minutes into the contest, Mansfield created the first real chance of the game, as Jordan Bowery curled an effort goal-wards from twenty yards out, but with Walsall 'keeper, Owen Evans beaten, the effort struck the crossbar.

The hosts continued to press, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position in the twelfth minute, which George Maris swung into the box for Stephen McLaughlin, but the midfielders headed effort sailed narrowly wide of the target.

As we reached the quarter-hour mark, Mansfield found the breakthrough, as Stephen Quinn headed the ball into the path of George Lapslie, who fired home from close range to put his side ahead.

Walsall looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, with Liam Bennett playing in Douglas James-Taylor in the twentieth minute, but the strikers' effort was blocked by Mansfield shot-stopper, Christy Pym, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying time on the ball, without creating anything of note.

The Saddlers forced another save from Pym in the twenty-eighth minute, as a Taylor Allen shot was blocked, with the ball falling kindly for Isaac Hutchinson, whose effort failed to beat the man between the sticks.

With thirty-five minutes on the clock, Walsall levelled the scores, as a through ball from Tom Knowles found Bennett, who fired a powerful effort past Pym and into the top right corner.

Mansfield looked to restore their lead moments later, but Quinn was unable to find a teammate inside the area at the other end, as his inviting cross evaded everyone inside the Walsall area. The hosts then saw a powerful effort from Elliott Hewitt sail wide.

One additional minute was 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 level.

HALF-TIME SCORE
MANSFIELD TOWN 1-1 WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and the match got back underway. Four minutes after the re-start, Mansfield found themselves with a chance to restore their earlier lead, as Lucas Akins cut inside and fired a low effort goal-wards, but the Walsall shot-stopper was well placed to stop the shot.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with both sides enjoying spells on the ball, without creating anything to test their opposition defences, though Walsall did put a couple of nice crosses into the box, though nobody was able to get a touch to turn them goal-wards.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, Akins went close to restoring the Stags earlier lead, as he connected with a McLaughlin cross, but his headed effort sailed wide of the upright.

Mansfield then chose to make a triple substitution, with Jordan Bowery, Ollie Clarke and Stephen Quinn making way for Will Swan, Anthony Hartigan and Hiram Boateng.

The hosts felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the sixty-fourth minute, as the recently introduced, and aptly named, swan went down inside the area, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

There was a pause in proceedings whilst Tom Knowles received treatment, but after a few minutes it became apparent that he would be unable to continue and in the sixty-eighth minute, Andy Williams was brought on in his place.

Moments after the game restarted, Town went close, as Hartigan played in McLaughlin, but the midfielders effort from outside the box was blocked by Hutchinson, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

The Saddlers won a corner at the other in the seventy-second minute, as Hutchinson fired an effort goal-wards from outside the area, which was diverted behind by Lapslie, but nothing would come of that flag-kick either.

Mansfield had soon worked the ball back to the other end, where Akins looked to play in McLaughlin, whose shot from distance sailed high over the crossbar.

In the eighty-first minute, Walsall opted to make a second change to their line-up, with Isaac hutchinson making way for Jacob Maddox.

Within a minute of the Walsall change being completed, Mansfield found the target, as Akins beat Hayden White and crossed the ball in for Swan, who headed home from the centre of the box.

With eighty-four minutes on the clock, Will Swan became the first player to be shown the yellow card, as he was booked for a foul on Peter Clarke.

Walsall opted to make their final three changes four minutes from time, with Douglas James-Taylor, Brandon Comley and Peter Clarke making way for Danny Cashman, Timmy Abraham and Liam Gordon.

In the ninetieth minute, Mansfield opted to make their fifth and final change of the afternoon, with George Maris making way for James Perch, as the board went up to indicate that seven additional minutes would be played.

There was little action of note during the final seven minutes of the contest, and the game was brought to it's conclusion with Mansfield winning by two-goals-to-one, to end the Saddlers, short, undefeated run.

FULL-TIME SCORE
MANSFIELD TOWN 2-1 WALSALL
LAPSLIE (15')
SWAN (82')
BENNETT (35')
AT FIELD MILL
ATTENDANCE 6,821 (796)
REFEREE SAM PURKISS
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