Match Report: Notts County 1 Walsall 2 Match Report: Notts County 1 Walsall 2

Match Report: Notts County 1 Walsall 2

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Notts County.
After failing to overcome National League North opposition in midweek, attention returned to league action on Saturday afternoon as the Saddlers visited Meadow Lane and took on promotion-chasing Notts County.

Notts County began the game brightly, seeing much of the ball during the opening fifteen minutes, whilst struggling to create anything to trouble the Walsall defences.

After a quiet opening spell, Walsall won a free-kick forty yards from goal as Oisin McEntee was fouled by John Bostock. Tom Knowles fired the ball goal-wards from the set-piece, but his effort from distance sailed narrowly wide of the post.

The hosts had soon worked the ball up to the other end, where David McGoldrick saw a strike sail wide of the target in the twentieth minute.

Walsall continued to grow into the game as it continued, with Brandon Comley playing in McEntree through one-on-one in the twenty-fourth minute, but County 'keeper, Aidan Stone was alert to the danger and made the save, although the flag was ultimately raised so had he scored, the goal would not have stood. Better from the Saddlers though.

Saddlers shot-stopper, Jackson Smith became the first player to be shown the yellow card, as he was cautioned for time-wasting in the twenty-sixth minute.

A foul by McEntee in the twenty-eighth minute, allowed the hosts a chance to open the scoring, but McGoldrick was unable to turn Jodi Jones' cross home as David Okagbue got to the ball to clear the danger.

Notts County found the breakthrough in the thirty-second minute, as they were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, after Donervon Daniels fouled Aaron Nemane. Jones crossed the ball into the penalty area from the set-piece, where Aden Baldwin was waiting to head past Smith to put his side ahead.

With thirty-five minutes on the clock, Walsall were forced to make the first change of the afternoon, as Ross Tierney appeared to pick up a hamstring injury, forcing him from the game, with Isaac Hutchinson the man to take his place.

The hosts could have doubled their advantage five minutes before the break, as Daniel Crowley drove into the area and fired an effort goal-wards, but Smith was alert to the danger and got down well to make the save. The resulting corner was crossed into the area by Jones, for Macaulay Lanstaff, but the strikers effort sailed wide of the upright.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, during which time there was a brief halt to proceedings allowing Smith to receive attention from the medical team, but he was able to see out the half. There was little further action of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with the County leading by one-goal-to-nil.

HALF-TIME
NOTTS COUNTY 1-0 WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged after the break and the action resumed. Walsall began the second-half brightly, winning a corner seven minutes in, as Nemane turned the ball out of play, but nothing would come of the flag-kick as the County defences stood firm.

With fifty-six minutes on the clock, Walsall restored parity, as Liam Gordon crossed the ball in towards the back post, where McEntee was waiting to head it home.

Three minutes after Walsall levelled, County looked to the bench, making a triple substitution, with Lewis Macari, John Bostock and Sam Austin all making way as Richard Brindley, Dan Gosling and Jim O'Brien joined the fray.

Walsall continued to show promise as the game continued, with Gordon crossing the ball to Comley in the sixty-first minute, but the midfielders effort from outside the area sailed wide of the target.

Oisin McEntee joined Smith in the referee's notebook in the sixty-third minute, as he was cautioned following a foul on Jones. The resulting free-kick was delivered into the box by Jones, but the Saddlers defences cleared the danger, although the hosts were soon back on the attack, with McEntee making a crucial interception to deny the hosts a second goal.

Walsall took the lead in the sixty-fifth minute, as Hutchinson broke with the ball, before crossing it into the path of McEntee, who found the top corner with his first time effort.

Twenty minutes from time, Notts County opted to make a fourth change to their line-up, with Daniel Crowley making way for Junior Morias.

Kyle Cameron became the first County player to see his name taken by the referee, in the seventy-eighth minute, as he was cautioned following a foul on Knowles.

Aden Baldwin joined Cameron in the referee's notebook, seven minutes later, as he was cautioned for a foul on Freddie Draper. The resulting free-kick saw Ryan Stirk, cross the ball into the area for Daniels, whose headed effort was easily saved by Stone.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, but there was little further action of note and the referee called time with Walsall winning by two-goals-to-one. A decent display from the Saddlers, who took their chances and defended well.

FULL-TIME
NOTTS COUNTY 1-2 WALSALL
BALDWIN (32') McENTEE (56')
McENTEE (65')
AT MEADOW LANE
REFEREE DALE BAINES
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