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Match Reports

Match Report: Walsall 4-0 Hartlepool United

30 July 2022

Walsall made a dream start to the 2022/23 season as striker Danny Johnson scored a hat-trick on his debut in a thumping win over Hartlepool United.

Brandon Comley opened the scoring before Johnson opened his account as the Saddlers found themselves two to the good after 45 minutes. 

The hosts capped off a dominant display in the second half as the 29-year-old added two further goals to complete his hat-trick on a stunning debut. 

Michael Flynn’s first XI of the campaign saw seven new signings make their debuts. 

Their were also five new signings on the bench, including Timmy Abraham who joined on a one-year contract earlier this week. 

Jack Earing also made the bench after recovering from an injury he suffered at the start of pre-season. 

After a quiet opening 10 minutes to the game, the first opportunity fell to the Saddlers when Danny Johnson poked the ball through to Taylor Allen who rifled in a powerful shot but it was saved by Ben Killip low to his right. 

The hosts opened the scoring after 21 minutes when a short corner was played to Isaac Hutchinson whose low cross was cleared out to Comley who let fly with a shot that took a deflection as it flew past Killip. 

Walsall doubled their lead six minutes later when Johnson opened his account after his first shot was saved but he reacted well to stab home the rebound. 

Hartlepool rarely threatened in the first half. They did have a chance on 29 minutes. Peter Clarke went down under Josh Umerah’s challenge and was frustrated not to be awarded a free-kick but the referee didn’t give it and Umerah burst through but arrowed his shot wide. 

Allen looked a dangerous outlet at left wing-back and came close when he cut inside and curled in a shot but his effort sailed over the bar. 

The Saddlers went into the break with a comfortable lead. 

Walsall made a bright start to the second half and got their rewards when Johnson lashed home Hutchinson’s pull back to make it three. 

The Saddlers were not happy to settle for three. Hutchinson and Andy Williams both came close as Flynn’s men laid siege on the Hartlepool defence. 

The fourth goal came on 73 minutes through a more inevitable source in Johnson who bagged his hat-trick after he prodded home Manny Monthe’s nod back. 

Flynn’s men continued to attack as Allen volleyed just wide in added time but a fifth evaded them as the full time whistle blew, marking a fantastic start to the new campaign for the Saddlers. 

 

Evans; White, Daniels (Bennett), P. Clarke, Monthe, Allen; Kinsella, Comley (Earing), Hutchinson (Maher); Johnson (Abraham), Williams (James-Taylor)
Subs: Przybek, F. Clarke 

Attendance: 5,754 (572 away)


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