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Match Reports

Match Report: Newport County AFC 3-3 Walsall

20 October 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Newport County AFC 3-3 Walsall

20 October 2023

The Saddlers earned a point on the road after an eventful evening at Rodney Parade against Newport County AFC.

It was an unchanged starting XI for Mat Sadler’s side following last Saturday’s victory against Gillingham. There was one change however amongst the substitutes as Liam Gordon returned to the squad after his time on international duty with Guyana, with Joe Foulkes dropping out of the squad.

It was a frantic start to proceedings as within 4 minutes the hosts took the lead. The Exiles retrieved the ball in the Saddlers half and Will Evans sprayed the ball out to Omar Bogle who delicately played the ball through first-time into the path of former Saddler Bryn Morris and he drove into space and rifled a fierce drive into the top corner from just outside the area past Owen Evans.

Sadler’s side regrouped and almost levelled the contest on 14 minutes. Taylor Allen clipped a ball into the path of Freddie Draper who did well to beat his man before hitting a strike on the turn and whilst Jonny Maxted got his hands to the shot it fell out of his grasp and went just over the bar.

Moments later though and Draper would soon have his revenge. A delightful passage of play from the Saddlers saw Ross Tierney spray a delightful pass out to the right-hand side and Tom Knowles was on hand to burst into space and deliver a ball into the box and the forward was on hand to put his effort away from close range to bring things level.

The Saddlers could’ve got themselves ahead shortly after as Oisin McEntee was able to meet a Ryan Stirk corner at the back-post on 23 minutes but his header trickled just wide of the post.

Both sides huffed and puffed as the first half ticked down and shortly after five minutes of added time was displayed, Newport got themselves back in front. Pandomonium in the box resulted in the ball deflecting off Donervon Daniels’ chest and it was dispossessed and fell into the path of Evans who wrapped his weaker foot around the ball as it curled into the back of the net.

Sadler was forced into his first change of the evening ahead of the second half as Brandon Comley came on in place of McEntee.

The rain started to pour down in Wales as the Saddlers plugged away in a bid to level the scoring for the second time in the match. On 53 minutes they did just that as Joe Riley’s delightful pass in behind found Draper who was bearing down on goal and with a Newport defender hot on his tail the forward cut inside onto his weaker foot and guided the ball past Maxted into the net, queue jubilation in the away end.

With the scores level once again both sides continued to test each other at every opportunity and it wasn’t until the 66th minute that another clear-cut chance was created and unfortunately for the visitors, it resulted in another goal for the hosts. A wicked ball was flashed across the box from the right-hand side and despite the best efforts of Riley to prevent the shot on goal, Morris was on hand to lift the ball over the challenge into the roof of the net for his second of the game.

Sadler shortly turned to his bench again after this setback as Danny Johnson came on in place of Tierney and moments later Gordon was introduced at left-back in place of Allen.

The visitors continued to plug away as the second half began to reach its conclusion. Knowles tested his luck on 77 minutes just inside the area but his effort bounced into the ground and looped over the bar and on 80 minutes Stirk turned well into space before striking at goal but Maxted was on hand to steer the ball away from danger.

Sadler threw one last substitution into the mix as Jamille Matt, celebrating his 34th birthday, came on in place of Riley as the visitors piled the pressure on the hosts.

Then, at the final stages of added time, Draper was in the right place at the right time to find the net in a crowded box to grab himself his hat-trick and a valuable point for the Saddlers as players and fans alike celebatred in emphatic fashion.

That was the last of the action as Mat Sadler’s side backed up last Saturday’s winning display against the Gills with a hard-earned point at Rodney Parade.

Attendance: 3896 (364 away)

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