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Match Report: Walsall 4-3 Port Vale

19 December 2020

Walsall edged a seven-goal thriller as they twice came from behind to beat Port Vale in a Christmas cracker at the Banks’s Stadium.

The Valiants raced into a 2-0 lead at half time with goals from Tom Pope and Tom Conlon.

Substitute Jake Scrimshaw and Dan Scarr struck as the Saddlers battle back but Devante Rodney restored Vale’s lead with 15 minutes to go before the same two players both scored again to turn the game on its head and earn the Saddlers their fourth consecutive victory.

Darrell Clarke made one change to the team that started against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday.

Hayden White came in for Zak Jules, who was forced off with an injury in midweek.

The Saddlers made a bright start and were unlucky not to be ahead after 13 minutes when Wes McDonald did brilliantly on the left to beat his man and play a low ball across the box that found Elijah Adebayo who turned the ball onto the crossbar from eight yards out.

Walsall assumed control from there and they struck the woodwork again nine minutes later when Zak Mills tried to clear Adebayo’s ball but he miss-kicked it and it looped goalwards but it bounced off the post as Port Vale were given a let off.

The visitors started to see more of the ball from that point and had a decent chance when Alex Hurst’s cross found Devante Rodney who headed over.

They had another opportunity when Tom Conlon’s free-kick was met by Leon Legge at the back post who headed back across goal but it just eluded everyone and the ball was cleared.

Vale grew in confidence and took the lead on 37 minutes when Pope collected the ball, turned inside and fired past Jack Rose via a slight deflection.

John Askey’s side doubled their lead seven minutes later when Tom Conlon found the top corner with a stunning free-kick from 25-yards.

Darrell Clarke took advantage of the extended number of allowed substitutes by making four changes at half time.

Danny Guthrie, Caolan Lavery, Jake Scrimshaw and Mat Sadler all came on in place of Gordon, Adebayo, Alfie Bates and Cameron Norman.

The Saddlers made the perfect start to the second half and pulled a goal back on 52 minutes when the ball was played through to Scrimshaw who slid the ball past Brown to score his first professional goal.

Walsall almost levelled instantly when McDonald’s fierce strike was beaten away by Brown but only as far as Rory Holden who headed back in on the follow up but Brown recovered well to make a second save.

The Saddlers came back again and drew level on 56 minutes when Holden’s corner eventually found Scarr who turned the ball in with a lovely finish from inside the box.

The Saddlers had the ball in the net four minutes later when White crossed for Scrimshaw who then applied the finish but White was adjudged to have taken the ball out of play in the build-up.

Walsall were the team applying the pressure as they looked to take the lead for the first time. Lavery had an opportunity but his shot was blocked.

It was Vale who found the fifth goal as Rodney turned in substitute David Amoo’s cross on 75 minutes.

The Saddlers came roaring back once again though and equalised five minutes later in emphatic fashion when Scrimshaw smashed the ball into the roof of the net to score his second of the afternoon.

Clarke’s men weren’t done there and took the lead for the first time in the match on 82 minutes when Dan Scarr towered over everyone to head Holden’s corner into the net.

Vale had a glorious chance to make it 4-4 when Mills found himself one on one with Rose but he slashed at the ball and missed the target.

The Saddlers saw the game out and stretched their unbeaten run to six.


Rose; Norman (Sadler), Scarr, Clarke, White; Bates (Guthrie); Kinsella; Gordon (Lavery), Holden, McDonald (Osadebe); Adebayo (Scrimshaw)
Subs: Roberts, Sinclair

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