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Match Reports

Match Report: Harrogate Town 0-2 Walsall

24 February 2024

Match Reports

Match Report: Harrogate Town 0-2 Walsall

24 February 2024

The Saddlers made it three wins on the bounce as goals from Liam Gordon and Mo Faal saw us victorious against Harrogate Town.

Mat Sadler named the same XI that started and made it back-to-back wins in the league in the midweek victory against Morecambe at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.

It was a cagey opening to the game in the glorious North Yorkshire sunshine as both sides looked to stamp their authority on proceedings and it wasn't until the 19th minute where the first chance of note was recorded. Taylor Allen's corner from the Sadddlers right was met at the back-post by Josh Gordon and the ball deflected around in the box before David Okagbue picked up the pieces and headed towards goal but his effort was comfortable enough for James Belshaw in the Harrogate net.

Sadler's side continued to plug away - a neat exchange between Ross Tierney and Isaac Hutchinson on 30 minutes saw the ball played out to the right-hand side and Tom Knowles was on hand to drill an effort at goal but his effort was deflected by a Harrogate man and was eventually cleared.

Seven minutes later, the versatile Allen received the ball in the middle of the park and advanced into space down the left-hand side before drilling a dangerous cross into the box and Jamille Matt was unable to latch onto it at the back-post, despite the best effort of the Saddlers forward.

The hosts had the ball in the net just moments later - Dean Cornelius took aim from distance and his effort cannoned off the crossbar and bounced off Jackson Smith on his way down and into the path of Matty Daly who tapped the rebound in from close range but the Harrogate man was flagged offside as the game remain evenly poised.

Sadler's side came out firing in the second half and they took the lead on 47 minutes. Hutchinson, in space, played the ball out wide to Knowles and his low ball into the box was met by Liam Gordon who composed himself before guiding his effort into the bottom corner in front of the 646 travelling fans.

The hosts reset and began to test the Saddlers backline as the half progressed. On 56 minutes, Abraham Odoh played the ball inside to George Thomson who sent a curling effort towards goal which deflected out of play for a corner. From the resulting corner, Matty  Foulds' delivery was met by Anthony O'Connor but his volley sailed over the bar. On 63 minutes, Daly took aim from outside the box, but his effort was dragged wide of the post as the visitors kept the hosts at bay.

Sadler turned to his bench for reinforcements shortly after as Jack Earing and Mo Faal came on in place of Tierney and Matt and made impacts as the game progressed. On 67 minutes, Earing went down in the box under the challenge of a Harrogate man but tried to get back up and retrieve the ball but the referee awarded a free-kick to the hosts and booked the midfielder for simulation.

On 73 minutes, Hutchinson drove into space down the right-hand side and spotted Faal in space at the back-post. The midfielder found the substitute well but the forwards' effort went wide of the mark.

Faal soon made up for his missed opportunity on 84 minutes as he controlled well from a ball over the top and cut inside before firing and hitting the back of the net via a deflection to give the Saddlers breathing space.

There were further changes from the visitors as Douglas James Taylor and Joe Foulkes were introduced in place of Gordon and Knowles and DJT almost got himself on the scoresheet late on. The Saddlers forward was sent one-on-one with Belshaw and he flicked the ball past him but his effort bounced off the post and the chance came and went!

The Saddlers remained firm for the remainder of the game and saw the game out to make it three wins on the bounce and back-to-back clean sheets at the EnviroVent Stadium.

Attendance: 3,167 (646 away)

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