Match Report: Hartlepool United 3 Walsall 3 Match Report: Hartlepool United 3 Walsall 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Hartlepool United 3 Walsall 3

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two clash with Hartlepool United.
Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they made the trip to the Suit Direct Stadium where they would take on Hartlepool United.

Looking to find their first win since the opening day of the New Year, the Saddlers had drawn five times in as many games and were keen to find that winning formula against a team they easily defeated on the opening day of the season.

Walsall began the game brightly, as Tom Knowles raced through on goal just seconds after the whistle, forcing Hartlepool goalkeeper, Jakub Stolarczyk to make a save to deny him an early goal, with Knowles follow up effort being blocked.

With just three minutes played, former Saddler, Brendan Kiernan was presented with an opportunity to open the scoring at the other end, but the midfielders effort from outside the box sailed wide of the target.

The frenetic pace slowed a little as both sides settled into the game, but twelve minutes in, Walsall won a corner as Kiernan turned the ball out of play. Nothing would come of the flag-kick, but a long throw from Knowles moments later, was headed goal-wards by Manny Monthe, however, Stolarczyk was alert to the danger and made the save.

Walsall went on to win another corner kick moments later, which Robbie Willmott swung in, with the ball falling to Brandon Comley whose twenty-five yard effort narrowly missed the target as it collided with the crossbar.

The visiting side continued to enjoy a good spell, with captain, Donervon Daniels seeing a left-footed effort blocked from close range in the sixteenth minute, moments before Isaac Hutchinson also saw a shot blocked.

With twenty-one minutes on the clock, Hartlepool were presented with a great opportunity to open the scoring, as David Ferguson played Daniel Kemp through on goal, but the midfielders effort from outside the box sailed high and wide of the target.

The game settled again as it continued, with neither side creating much to test their opposition defences, but thirty-three minutes into the contest, Walsall found the breakthrough, as a corner, conceded by Ferguson, was picked up by Comley who drove into the area and fed the ball through to Knowles, whose shot found the bottom corner.

Hartlepool set about trying to restore parity, and created a decent chance in the thirty-ninth minute, but after some good play from Connor Jennings to work the ball to Kiernan inside the area, the former Saddlers cross evaded everyone.

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 Walsall leading by one-goal-to-nil.


The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. Hartlepool began the second-half brightly, with Mohamad Sylla heading the ball into the path of Jennings, just three minutes after the restart, but the strikers shot failed to test Walsall 'keeper, Owen Evans as it sailed over the crossbar.

Walsall were quick to work the ball up to the other end, where Matty Stevens played in Hutchinson, who unleashed a powerful strike from twenty yards out, doubling the Saddlers tally as he found the top corner.

With fifty-five minutes on the clock, United were presented with a chance to reduce the deficit as they were awarded a penalty as Jack Hamilton went down inside the area. Kemp stepped forth to take the spot-kick and duly converted, reducing the Saddlers lead to one goal.

Three minutes after the goal, Hartlepool opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Taylor Foran made way for Mouhamed Niang.

Manny Monthe became the first player to draw the attentions of the referee, as he was shown the yellow card for a foul on Hamilton, in the sixty-first minute. The resulting free-kick was played into the area by Kemp, with Hamilton eventually getting a head to the ball, but Evans was alert to the danger and made the save.

The hosts continued to press, winning a corner in the sixty-fourth minute, as Taylor Allen turned a Kemp effort out of play, but the Saddlers defences stood firm to ensure nothing would come of the flag-kick.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the seventieth minute, allowing Peter Hartley to receive treatment, but it was soon determined he would be unable to continue, and Matthew Dolan was brought on in his place.

Just one minute later, Walsall extended their lead, as Hutchinson slipped the ball through to Stevens who did well to work himself into shooting range before firing the ball past Stolarczyk into the bottom corner.

Fourteen minutes from time, Walsall chose to make their first change of the afternoon, with Yann Songo'o making way for the returning Liam Kinsella.

Four minutes later, a second Saddlers substitute was introduced, as Matty Stevens made way for Andy Williams. Hartlepool also took the opportunity to introduce some fresh legs, with Nicky Featherstone and Jack Hamilton being replaced by Oliver Finney and Leon Clarke.

With eighty-three minutes on the clock, Daniel Kemp became the second player to be shown the yellow card, as he was cautioned for a foul on Knowles.

Walsall continued to seek goals late into the contest, with Williams crossing the ball in for Knowles, in the eighty-eighth minute, forcing Stolarczyk to make a fine save to deny him, though the linesman's flag went up so any goal would not have counted.

Tom Knowles became the third player to see yellow, as he was cautioned for time wasting, in the eighty-ninth minute.

Hartlepool were awarded their second penalty of the game as we reached the ninetieth minute, as Kinsella was penalised for a foul on Finney inside the area. Kemp stepped forth to take the spot-kick, and again converted to narrow the gap.

Four additional minutes were added to end the match, and two minutes into them, Jennings levelled the scores as he headed home from close range following a free-kick.

With ninety-four minutes played, Walsall opted to make a double change to their line-up, with Robbie Willmott and Tom Knowles making way for Joe Low and Douglas James-Taylor. That would be the final action of note, as the match was brought to it's conclusion with the sides sharing the points.

KEMP [P] (56')
KEMP [P] (90+1')
JENNINGS (90+2')
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