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Match Reports

Match Report: Stevenage 3-1 Walsall

11 March 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Stevenage 3-1 Walsall

11 March 2023

The Saddlers suffered defeat on their travels as a brace from Josh March and Luke Norris saw Stevenage take all three points at the Lamex Stadium.

Michael Flynn made one change to the side which started against Bradford City on Tuesday evening.

Douglas James-Taylor came into the starting XI in place of Conor Wilkinson who was named amongst the substitutes. Yann Songo’o also returned to the 18-man squad in place of Taylor Allen, after being unable to feature in midweek against his parent club.

It was a lively opening to the game as both sides looked to stamp their authority into proceedings and the first clear-cut chance of the afternoon was coolly dispatched. A ball over the top from the Stevenage defence caused difficulty for captain Donervon Daniels and March was on hand to reach the ball and drive into space before composing himself and lifting the ball over Evans to give Steve Evans’ side the lead.

The hosts continued their bright start and Luke Norris tested the Saddlers keeper from distance minutes later when Jake Taylor fed the ball into the striker’s path, but his effort was collected with ease.

Stevenage’s number 9 would some come knocking on the door again and after a dangerous low ball into the box by Kane Smith the forward made no mistake as he converted his strike into the back of the net from close range to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

It’s safe to say the Saddlers struggled to get a foot into the game as the hosts looked dangerous time and time again on the forward front. Norris, fresh off his goal, had a chance to grab his second of the game as the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the box and he struck towards goal on his weaker side but the effort trickled wide of the post.

Moments later and the Saddlers pulled a goal back against the run of play. A free-kick into the Boro box eventually fell into the path of Manny Monthe who rifled his shot home past the on-rushing Josh McCracken and Flynn’s side were back in it.

This was short-lived however as 7 minutes later March restored Stevenage’s two-goal lead with a sublime acrobatic effort which nestled into the net, leaving Evans with no chance whatsoever.

The hosts then controlled the remainder of the half and almost added a fourth on 39 minutes. March chested the ball down into Taylor and the midfielder took aim just inside the box but he saw his effort sail past the far-post. In added time Evans kept out a fierce header from March to deny the forward his hat-trick and that bought an end to a disappointing half for the Saddlers.

Flynn made four changes at the start of the second half as Joe Riley, Liam Kinsella, Wilkinson and Joe Low came on in place of Isaac Hutchinson, Jacob Maddox, Andy Williams and Liam Gordon.

It was a much better performance in the second half from the Saddlers as they looked to find a way back into the game but the Boro defence maintained their shape well and continued to look threatening on the forward line. On 72 minutes, Jordan Roberts drilled a volley towards goal from a tight angle and Low’s block saw the ball deflect just wide of the post and into the side netting.

Flynn’s side continued to plug away and rued a massive opportunity to create a nervy finish for the hosts on 80 minutes. Monthe did well to take on Smith and delivered a dangerous ball into the box which was met at close range by James-Taylor but the forward’s effort somehow sailed just over the bar.

Flynn turned to his bench again shortly after as Brandon Comley was replaced by Matty Stevens and despite their best efforts to get back into the contest, Stevenage preserved their lead and picked up a valuable three points.

Attendance: 3441 (364 away)

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