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Match Report: Walsall 0-1 Newport

24 February 2021

Walsall suffered a frustrating defeat as Joss Labadie’s goal saw Newport County take all three points from the Banks’s Stadium.

There was very little in the way of clear-cut chances and the game looked to be heading for a goalless draw but Labadie’s effort after 71 minutes saw the Exiles pick up the victory.

Brian Dutton made two changes to the team that drew with Stevenage on Saturday.

Alfie Bates came in for the suspended Liam Kinsella while Josh Gordon was restored to the starting XI in place of Wes McDonald.

The Saddlers enjoyed a lot of the early possession but it was the visitors who had the first meaningful effort on goal when Matt Dolan’s free-kick was caught by Liam Roberts on 11 minutes.

Walsall started to build some apply more pressure as the first half went on but Newport put up stern resistance and were proving a tough nut to crack.

Roberts had to be alert on 35 minutes when Liam Shephard’s cross almost crept into the near corner but the Saddlers stopper got across well to push the ball away.

Roberts was called into action again two minutes before the break when he beat away Nicky Maynard’s powerful shot and the opening period ended goalless.

Michael Flynn’s side had the first opportunity of the second half when Dom Telford found himself one on one with Roberts but the Saddlers goalkeeper did brilliantly to get down quickly to make the save.

The Saddlers managed to carve a decent opportunity for themselves as Lavery picked up the ball in a good position on the edge of the box but he pulled his early shot wide.

Dutton made his first change just after the hour mark when McDonald replaced Emmanuel Osadebe.

Walsall had a lot of the ball in the second half but clear-cut chances were few and far between.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring when Labadie nodded the ball into the net after his initial header was saved onto the bar.

Dutton introduced Stuart Sinclair and Derick Osei-Yaw in place of Frank Vincent and Hayden White to add fresh impetus as the Saddlers searched for an equaliser.

The Saddlers came close when Gordon found Max Melbourne who got a shot away on the turn but his effort was saved by Nick Townsend.

Walsall pushed hard late on but couldn’t find an equaliser.

 

Roberts; Norman, White (Osei Yaw), Scarr, Sadler, Melbourne; Bates, Vincent (Sinclair); Osadebe (McDonald), Gordon, Lavery
Subs: Rose, Leak, Perry, Reid


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