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Match Report: Harrogate Town 1-1 Walsall

19 March 2022

Walsall suffered late heartache after Harrogate Town equalised in injury time.

Conor Wilkinson’s second half penalty, his fifth goal in sixth games, gave the Saddlers the lead but Harrogate’s pressure eventually paid off and Calum Kavanagh levelled in the 94th minute with a looping header.  

Michael Flynn named an unchanged team for the third consecutive match after the team’s recent good run.

The Saddlers made a bright start at the EnviroVent Stadium and were on the front foot in the opening exchanges.

It was Harrogate who had the first meaningful attempt on goal despite Walsall’s good start. Jack Muldoon clipped the ball through to Jack Diamond who poked the ball towards goal but Carl Rushworth, who was called up to the England U21s squad on Friday, got in the way to make the save.

The hosts came close again on the half hour mark when Manny Monthé was dispossessed in the Walsall half and Ryan Fallowfield burst towards goal and let fly with an arrowed shot but dragged it wide.

Alex Pattison tested Rushworth with a powerful strike and he made the save but fumbled the ball and Muldoon followed up with a shot but the Saddlers stopper recovered quickly to make a good save with his legs.

Walsall’s first shot on goal came on the 41st minute when Conor Wilkinson picked up the ball 25-yards out swept in a low shot with his left foot that just missed the target by a matter of inches.

Harrogate had the better of the first half overall but the two teams went into the break level.

The Saddlers had the first opportunity of the second half when Emmanuel Osadebe set up Tyrese Shade with a back-heel who curled in a shot but just missed the target.

Walsall were presented with a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring when Joss Labadie was brought down in the box and the referee awarded a penalty.

Wilkinson stepped up and, as he did against Sutton United last weekend, found the back of the net with a coolly taken spot kick to score his 10th of the campaign.

The game burst into life and both sides had further opportunities. Mark Beck hooked the ball over from close range before substitute Devante Rodney stung the palms of Mark Oxley with a first time strike.

Harrogate applied pressure as they went in search of an equaliser but the Saddlers were putting their bodies on the line as they tried to preserve their lead.  

The Sulphurites kept coming and substitute Simon Power had a great chance when he was played through but he couldn’t beat Rushworth who closed down well to make the save.

They made the breakthrough with virtually the last kick of the game as Kavanagh guided a header past Rushworth to leave Walsall frustrated and the game ended as a draw.

The Saddlers did however stretch their unbeaten run in the league to six games.

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