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Match Report: Walsall 3-3 Newport County

1 January 2022

Conor Wilkinson scored a dramatic 95th minute equaliser as the Saddlers came from behind three times to earn a point against Newport County at the Banks’s Stadium.

Substitute Wilkinson had a hand in half of the goals in the match as he stepped off the bench to score the first equaliser to cancel out Dom Telford’s opener.

He then headed into his own net moments later to restore Newport’s lead but he wasn’t the only man to score an own goal as Matt Dolan did the same to make it 2-2.

Lightning struck twice as Telford scored Newport’s third straight after the equaliser.

The drama didn’t end there and Wilkinson ensured the hosts went home with a deserved share of the spoils in dramatic fashion.

Matt Taylor made one change from his last selection three weeks ago as Kieran Phillips came in for Brendan Kiernan who was missing from the 18.

The Saddlers made a lively start and had an opening in the first minute when Phillips won the ball in midfield and released George Miller who tried to go round Nick Townsend but he was equal to it.

It was the visitors who took the lead after four minutes when the ball fell into the path of Dom Telford from a set piece and he rifled the ball into the net.

The Saddlers looked to respond quickly and had a handful of attempts through Jack Earing, Emmanuel Osadebe and Kieran Phillips but they didn’t trouble Townsend.

Walsall had a penalty appeal waved away when Ash Taylor looked to have been hauled down by James Clarke but the referee wasn’t interested.

The Exiles still carried a threat. Telford flashed a header wide before Ollie Cooper forced Carl Rushworth into a decent save with a powerful strike.

There were no further goals in the first half as Newport went into the break with the lead.

Matt Taylor made an early change in the second half as he introduced Conor Wilkinson in place of Kieran Phillips.

The striker made an immediate impact and got on the end of Otis Khan’s corner and guided the ball into the net to level the match.

Parity didn’t last long for the Saddlers and it was Wilkinson who was again involved, this time for the wrong reasons as Telford had time and space to deliver a cross that Wilkinson headed into his own net.

That wasn’t the only own goal of the game as the Saddlers levelled again when Khan’s corner was turned in by Matt Dolan.

History repeated itself again and Newport restored their lead instantly after Walsall’s equaliser when a shot cannoned off the crossbar and Telford prodded home from close range in what was turning into a crazy affair at the Banks’s Stadium.

The Saddlers continued to press but Newport still looked dangerous. The Saddlers had Rushworth to thank as he was quick off his line to close down and make a save from Courtney Baker-Richardson on 76 minutes.

Walsall continued to pile on the pressure and there were some almighty scrambles in the Newport area.

It looked like it wasn’t going to be Walsall’s day but then up stepped Wilkinson who made sure he had the final say with a stupendous strike into the top corner deep into injury time to earn a deserved draw.


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