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Match Report

Walsall 0-0 Town - Belshaw's penalty save against former club earns Town a point

James Belshaw showcased an outstanding performance against his former club to help Town leave the Banks’s Stadium with a point.

The 90 minutes saw plenty of chances but a man of the match performance from Belshaw, which included a first half penalty save, proved to be crucial in deciding the final result.
 
It was an afternoon where Town’s number one was tested more often than he’d had liked but the former Walsall keeper stood up to the occasion in empathic style.
 
Simon Weaver made two changes for the trip to Walsall with Mark Beck and Ryan Fallowfield both returning to the starting XI.
 
Town lined up with Jack Muldoon on the left of a midfield four which saw Warren Burrell in the centre, partnering captain Josh Falkingham.
 
In the early stages, it was the home side who were crafting the better of the chances. Will Smith found himself in the thick of the action, taking a sore one to make sure Walsall striker Josh Gordon couldn’t direct his effort towards James Belshaw’s goal.
 
The Town keeper then made a top reaction save to deny Gordon from six-yards out after the striker spun and took aim. Belshaw was quick to get down to his left to push away the goal bound effort, and then Smith did well to react and make sure there would be no easy rebound.
 
The Saddlers continued to be the better of the two sides as the half time whistle approached as a couple sloppy minutes nearly put Town a goal behind.
 
Dan Jones first made a great block to deny Walsall a simple finish after Belshaw had come out of his area in an attempt to clear the danger and then home side were awarded a penalty in a minute later as a Walsall men was brought down by Burrell.
 
Emmanuel Osadebe was the man to step up and take the penalty in the 38th minute but a great leap by Belshaw denied the winger and the score remained level.
 
Belshaw was then called into action on the stroke of half-time to once again deny Osadebe who found space running in at the near post.
 
It was a frustrating first half for Town which left Simon Weaver and Paul Thirlwell less than impressed.
 
Two changes were made at the break with Lloyd Kerry and Josh McPake both coming into the fray, replacing Burrell and Martin.
 
Town’s Scotsman immediately provided a threat and managed to pick out Jones with a cross from the left but the Jones struggled direct his flicked effort on target.
 
Belshaw, who was having a fantastic game against one of his former clubs then pulled off another outstanding save just before the hour mark.
 
A great pass from Caolan Lavery put Tyreik Wright clean through and he should have finished but Town’s number one made himself big, managing to deny the attacker.
 
It was quickly turning into an end to end game as Mark Beck then saw a first-time strike - which looked destined for the top corner - blocked.
 
More important saves by Belshaw soon followed before Muldoon had a great chance to break the deadlock. Kerry had done well to steal possession from the home side and the ball was then fizzed into Muldoon with grass in front of him. He drove forward and took aim but his right-footed effort couldn’t test Liam Roberts in the Walsall goal.
 
A free-kick for Town in the dying moments provided brief hope of a goal for Town but after that effort was saved, there was little more either side could create and the contest ended goalless.
 
It’s now a quick turnaround for Weaver’s squad as we get set for Monday’s contest with Port Vale at the EnviroVent Stadium.

Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Smith, Hall, Jones, Thomson, Burrell (Kerry 46), Falkingham, Muldoon, Beck Martin (McPake 46).

Subs not used: Minter, Kiernan, Francis, Williams.

Walsall: Roberts, Melbourne, Sadler, Clarke, Kinsella, Lavery, Gordon, Bates (McDonald 58), Perry, Osadebe, Wright (Holden 78).

Subs not used: Rose, Norman, Sinclair, Osei Yaw, Leak.

Cards: Osadebe
Match Result
Walsall
Walsall
0
Town
Town
0
Banks's Stadium
3:00PM Friday 02 April 2021
Attendance 0
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