Match Report: Newport County 3 Walsall 3 Match Report: Newport County 3 Walsall 3
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Report: Newport County 3 Walsall 3

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Newport County.
Walsall were back in action on Friday evening as they made their way to Rodney Parade and took on Newport County in their fourteenth outing of the 2023/24 League Two campaign.

Following a minute long silence to remember all of the innocent victims caught up in the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine, Walsall got the match underway.

The Saddlers began the game brightly, with Isaac Hutchinson playing a promising ball in for Freddie Draper inside the first minute, but the strikers connection was poor and nothing would come of the opportunity, with the corner which followed also coming to nothing.

Newport had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where they won a corner themselves, as Donervon Daniels turned the ball out of play. Aaron Wildig crossed the ball into the area from the flag-kick, but Tom Knowles cleared the initial danger, though the ball then fell to Shane McLoughlin, who played the ball back in for Omar Bogle, who attempted an overhead kick, which was well saved by Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans.

With just four minutes on the clock, Newport opened the scoring, as Bogle played the ball through for Bryn Morris, who took aim from twenty-five yards and found the target.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the sixth minute, allowing Knowles to receive treatment, but fortunately for the Saddlers, he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

The hosts continued to press, with Will Evans playing in McLoughlin in the eighth minute, but the defender saw his strike from outside the area blocked.

There was another short pause in play in the twelfth minute, whilst Oisin McEntee received attention from the medical team, but he too was soon able to rejoin the fray.

Walsall went close to levelling the scores as we reached the quarter hour mark, but Draper was unable to turn Taylor Allen's cross home. However, the Lincoln City loanee had more luck in front of goal moments later, as he turned a low cross from Knowles goal-wards, restoring parity with sixteen minutes on the clock.

The visiting side created a chance to take the lead just three minutes later, as Knowles again worked the ball to Draper, but the forwards strike from outside the box was well blocked by the Newport defences.

The Saddlers continued to press, winning a corner in the twenty-third minute, as Ryan Delaney turned the ball wide. The ball was swung in towards the back post by Ryan Stirk, where McEntee was waiting to connect with the cross, but the midfielders headed effort sailed wide of the target.

County had a chance to restore their earlier lead in the twenty-seventh minute, as Wildig crossed the ball onto the head of Delaney, but the defenders header from the centre of the box was easily saved by Evans.

Walsall won a free-kick in a promising position in the thirty-ninth minute, as Scot Bennett was penalised for fouling Hutchinson. Knowles stepped forth to take the set-piece, but his effort on goal failed to trouble Jonathan Maxted in the County goal, as it sailed high over the crossbar.

The visitors continued to look the brighter of the two sides as we entered the final five minutes of the first-half, with Hutchinson winning a corner for the side in the forty-first minute, but nothing would come of the flag-kick.

Unperturbed, the Saddlers continued to press, with Harry Williams picking up the ball in the forty-second minute, and firing goal-wards from just outside the area, but Maxted was alert to the danger and made the save.

Five additional minutes were added to end the first-half, and four minutes into them, Newport restored their earlier lead as Daniels failed to clear the ball, allowing Will Evans to pick up the loose ball and fire home from the edge of the area.

That would be the final action of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Newport leading by two-goals-to-one at the break.


Walsall opted to make a change to their line-up as the teams returned, with Oisin McEntee sitting out the second-half, as Brandon Comley took his place. 
The second-half got off to a quiet start, though Newport won a corner five minutes in, but nothing would come of the set-piece as the Saddlers cleared the danger.

With fifty-three minutes on the clock, Draper once again restored parity, as the striker collected the ball from Joe Riley before slotting the ball past Maxted into the bottom corner to net his seventh goal of the season.

Tom Knowles became the first player to draw the attention of the referee, as he was cautioned in the sixty-first minute following a foul on McLoughlin.

With sixty-seven minutes on the clock, County took the lead for the third time as the ball was played in by Evans, towards the back post, where Morris was waiting to turn it home.

Walsall chose to make a second change to their line-up in response, with Ross Tierney making way for Danny Johnson in the sixty-ninth minute.

Johnson was quick to get involved in the action, playing the ball in for Hutchinson just one minute after his introduction, but Maxted was alert to the danger and prevented the Walsall man getting a shot away.

County opted to make their first change of the evening in the seventy-second minute, as Matt Baker made way for Josh Seberry.

Walsall also took the opportunity to make a further change to their team, as Taylor Allen was replaced by Liam Gordon.

The Saddlers saw much of the ball as they set about looking to level the scores for a third time, and they almost succeeded in the seventy-seventh minute, as a Stirk cross was headed into the path of Knowles, but the midfielders effort on goal hit the turf and bounced over the crossbar.

The visiting side continued to press, with Stirk forcing a save from Maxted in the eighty-first minute as he fired an effort goal-wards from distance and the resulting corner came to nothing as Gordon fired wide.

With eighty-two minutes on the clock, Walsall chose to introduce a fourth substitute, as Joe Riley made way for Jamille Matt.

Matt was quick to get involved in the action, seeing an effort from outside the area sail wide of the target within a minute of his introduction.

Five minutes from time, Newport opted to make a double change, with Aaron Wildig and Lewis Payne making way for Matthew Bondswell and Kiban Rai.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match. Five minutes into those added, the hosts chose to make one final change to their line-up, with Will Evans making way for Olly Thomas.

In the closing seconds of the game, Walsall won a corner as Bondswell turned the ball out of play. Daniels played the ball in to Draper, who turned home from close range to restore parity for a third and final time.

Freddie Draper joined Knowles in the referee's notebook in the ninety-seventh minute, as he was cautioned for excessive celebration of the goal.

That would be the final action of note, and the game was brought to its conclusion with the sides each taking one point from the contest, having scored three-goals-apiece.

EVANS (45+4')
MORRIS (67')
DRAPER (16')
DRAPER (53')
DRAPER (90+6')
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