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Match Reports

Match Report: Walsall 2-2 Darlington

9 November 2019

Walsall were forced to settle for a replay after a dramatic FA Cup First Round tie with Darlington.

The National League North side took the lead through Omar Holness in the first half before a crazy final 10 minutes saw two red cards and three goals from Caolan Lavery, Alfie Bates and Jarrett Rivers.

Darrell Clarke made one change to the side that was narrowly beaten by Swindon Town last week.

Alfie Bates came in for Danny Guthrie who was forced off with an injury last weekend.

The first chance of the game fell to Darlington on 15 minutes as Holness arrowed in a shot but Jack Rose was equal to it.

Two minutes later, the visitors took the lead when Holness made no mistake with his second attempt after Rose pulled off a decent stop before the forward tucked in the rebound.

Clarke reacted to the goal by making a double substitution on 21 minutes as he introduced Wes McDonald and James Hardy in place of Zak Jules and Rory Holden.

It seemed to have an effect as the Saddlers looked more threatening. Hardy had two efforts on goal but it was McDonald who came closest in the first half as his wonderful curling effort from 30 yards crashed against the bar. Rory Gaffney was unable to convert the rebound and Darlington survived.

Darlington made a fine start to second half and came close when Josef Wheatley’s shot was saved onto the post.

Clarke introduced Caolan Lavery who made an instant impact after his low drilled cross was met by Adebayo but the striker fluffed his lines from close range.

It got worse for Walsall when Dan Scarr was sent off for a second bookable offence and the Saddlers were reduced to 10-men.

Four minutes from time, the hosts drew level when Bates’ shot was saved but the ball fell into Lavery’s path and the striker made no mistake and found the net.

Three minutes later, the Saddlers completed a dramatic turnaround when Bates’ corner found the net via Darlington keeper Liam Connell.

The number of players on the pitch evened up as Ben Hedley was sent off for the visitors after an altercation with Adebayo.

That was the end of the drama as Darlington equalised with the last kick off the game when Rivers converted after a free-kick.


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