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Match Reports

Walsall vs. Scunthorpe

1 March 2016

Match Reports

Walsall vs. Scunthorpe

1 March 2016


Walsall were held to a second successive goalless draw after failing to break down battling Scunthorpe.

Kieron Morris went closest for the Saddlers when he rattled the bar, while Scunthorpe’s Tom Hopper saw an effort cleared off the line.

It was Walsall’s second scoreless stalemate in four days following Saturday’s draw at promotion-rivals Burton.

Sean O'Driscoll's men remain winless at home in 2016 and have now gone five league matches without success.

Despite the result, Walsall moved up a place to third in League One - leapfrogging Gillingham, who lost 2-1 at Fleetwood.

The home side were unchanged from the side that drew 0-0 against promotion rivals Burton on Saturday.

The Saddlers, winless in four heading into the match, started brightly and bossed possession in the early stages.

Centre-back Paul Downing, arguably Walsall’s man of the match at Burton, displayed lovely skill to waltz out of defence before finding Sam Mantom.

The ball was worked quickly out to Romaine Sawyers but his driven cross was too strong for Tom Bradshaw in the middle.

The hosts threatened again, as Andy Taylor’s dipping long-range drive was tipped over by Scunthorpe stopper Luke Daniels.

Nick Daws’ visitors entered the contest in fine form, having won four of their previous six matches, and they also posed a threat.

Jim O’Brien’s firm 20-yard drive was held by Walsall custodian Neil Etheridge, who then gathered Paddy Madden’s long-distance free-kick.

The Saddlers went close on 26 minutes, when the ball broke favourably for Bradshaw, ten yards out, to fire a rising right-footed strike goalwards but Daniels tipped over.

Despite enjoying plenty of the ball and dominating territory, Walsall were struggling to penetrate a well-organised, deep-lying Scunthorpe defence.

Bradshaw’s shot was deflected wide and Demetriou’s powerful strike was blocked, as was Forde’s ambitious 30-yard attempt.

Scunthorpe – 4-1 winners on each of their previous two visits to the Banks’s – fashioned a decent opportunity before half-time.

O’Brien’s glorious crossfield pass picked out Jordan Clarke, who crossed low for Madden but he scuffed his shot wide when well placed.


There was a minute’s applause in the 50th minute in memory of Adrian Evans, who died in last year’s Tunisia terror attacks. Adrian would have celebrated his 50th birthday today.

On the pitch, Scunthorpe almost snatched the lead, but Downing nipped in ahead of Murray Wallace to cut out Madden’s dangerous cut-back.

Walsall were struggling to find their fluency in the second half and were finding it difficult to fashion chances.

Lalkovic cut in from the left-hand side and fired a deflected effort wide of the far post, with Taylor heading the resulting corner straight at Daniels.

At the other end, Townsend then steered an angled left-footed shot narrowly off target from a tight angle.

With Walsall labouring, head coach Sean O’Driscoll shuffled his pack on 70 minutes, with Kieron Morris and Rico Henry replacing Lalkovic and Forde.

The Saddlers started to increase the pressure.

Downing couldn’t get enough on a header from Taylor’s free-kick, with the ball landing for Sawyers, who saw his low drive blocked.

And Walsall almost grabbed the lead with 13 minutes remaining, as from a short corner, Morris cut inside and smashed a powerful left-footed strike against the bar.

After going so close to scoring at one end, the Saddlers were left breathing a huge sigh of relief after surviving a let off at the other.

Clarke’s cross-shot was spilled by Etheridge, with Tom Hopper reacting quickest to turn a low effort goalwards.

The ball squirmed past Etheridge – and looked destined for the net – but Downing made a superb goal-line clearance.

Walsall pushed in vain for a stoppage-time winner, with Demetriou’s cross flashing across the face of goal but Taylor, under pressure from a defender, couldn’t convert.


Etheridge, Demetriou, O’Connor, Downing, Taylor, Chambers, Mantom, Forde (Henry 70'), Lalkovic (K Morris 70'), Sawyers, Bradshaw.

Subs not used: Roberts, Preston, Flanagan, Cook, Bryn Morris.

Attendance: 3,868 (155 Scunthorpe supporters).

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