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Match Reports

Town 0-2 Walsall - Town suffer first home defeat of 2024 at hands of Walsall

24 February 2024

Match Reports

Town 0-2 Walsall - Town suffer first home defeat of 2024 at hands of Walsall

24 February 2024

Second half strikes from Liam Gordon and Mo Faal consigned Town to a 2-0 defeat this afternoon at The Envirovent Stadium.

An even encounter over the first-half was tipped in favour of the visitors just two minutes after the break when Gordon fired low past Belshaw and despite Town pressing hard for an equaliser substitute Mo Faal doubled the lead with just over five minutes remaining.

Town had the first effort of the game when a Matty Foulds shot took a wicked deflection off Geroge Thomson but despite his quick reaction he couldn’t steer the ball on target.

Foulds was again in the thick of the action on ten minutes when another shot from the Town full-back found its way to Matty Daly, but his path was blocked and the Saddlers cleared the danger.

There was a lengthy stoppage on fifteen minutes when Liam Gibson went down away from the play, but he thankfully recovered to continue.

Shortly afterwards there was a scramble following a Walsall corner which led to a Dave Okagbue header that James Belshaw comfortably handled.

Okagbue seized possession midway through the half and galloped half the length of the pitch before releasing Jamille Matt who fired at goal but Gibson’s timely interception ended the danger.

Thomson and Daly then combined with the latter firing at goal from the edge of the area but, like the general pattern of the game, the visitors defence got numbers behind the ball.

Ten mins before the break a vicious cross from the left from Taylor Allen flashed past everyone with Matt sliding in dangerously at the far post, but the Saddlers skipper couldn’t find a connection. The faintest of touches would surely have given the visitors.

The best opportunity of the half came with five minutes remaining. Dean Cornelius’s smart first touch set himself to fire at goal from twenty-five yards and he saw his shot cannon agonisingly off the crossbar onto the keeper, with Daly on hand to pounce on the rebound. The celebrations were short lived however when the referee’s assistant raised his flag to signal that Daly was in an offside position.

If Town were feeling hard done by they were to be even more frustrated just two minutes after the break when Knowles’s low cross from the right ran across the box for Gordon to apply a low finish into the bottom corner beyond Belshaw.

Town were almost caught out five minutes later when a quick counter-attack sprang the offside trap, with Knowles again crossing low into the box. He picked out Ross Tierney but a heavy first touch took the ball straight out of play.

Simon Weaver’s side responded well though with Abraham Odoh cutting in from the left to feed Thomson who curled an effort that was tipped wide by Jackson Smith.

From the resulting corner Anthony O’Connor ghosted in at the far post but he fired his effort over the bar.

Town’s first change of the afternoon came on the hour mark when Josh March was introduced in favour of Thomson, with Jack Muldoon taking the armband.

Almost immediately March was in the action helping create a Town chance that saw Daly fire narrowly wide.

The visitors responded immediately with a pair of changes that saw Matt and Tierney replaced by Mo Faal and Jack Earing.

Earing was involved in a controversial incident moments after coming on when he went down under a challenge from Odoh. After waving appeals for a penalty the referee decided to card Earing.

With fifteen minutes remaining the Saddlers missed a glorious opportunity to wrap up the points when substitute Faal blazed over from ten yards out with only Belshaw to beat.

Town’s last roll of the dice came with fifteen minutes when Simon Weaver switched the central midfield spots with Josh Falkingham and Levi Sutton replaced Cornelius and Dooley.

Knowles tested Belshaw from distance with the Town keeper providing a safe pair of hands to keep hold of the effort with Walsall players looking to seize on any rebound.

Hutchinson then fired straight at Belshaw with Town having men committed forward in search of a vital equaliser.

But the killer blow was delivered just over five minutes from time when Faal found time and space to fire past Belshaw to seal the points.

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