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Match Reports

Match Report: Walsall vs Port Vale

22 February 2020

First-half goals from Port Vale skipper Leon Legge and Scott Burgess meant that the Valiants gained a well-earned point at the Banks’s Stadium against an in-form Walsall side.

The result also means that Vale’s unbeaten run stretches to six games but also means that the Valiants drop out of the play-off zone by virtue of goal difference.

After a tight opening ten minutes, a Dave Worrall corner was played out to Tom Conlon who floated a ball to the back post, where Valiants captain Leon Legge was lurking to head in the opening goal of the game after twelve minutes.

But Vale’s lead barely lasted three minutes as Scott Brown’s initial save from Walsall wide man Rory Holden, was tapped in by Fulham loanee Elijah Adebayo to level the scores for the Saddlers on fifteen minutes. 

After two goals in quick succession, the game turned into a midfield battle, with neither side able to gain a real control of the game, though the Valiants did look threatening on the counter-attack.

Saddlers top-scorer Josh Gordon blazed a half chance from 10 yards over the before Vale’s threat on the break came to fruition. 

Scott Burgess’ effort was deflected off a Walsall defender which wrongfooted Walsall goalkeeper Jack Rose to put the Valiants into a 2-1 lead with just 10 minutes of the first-half remaining.

Scott Brown was immediately forced into action after the break after he stood up well to deny Josh Gordon an early second-half equalizer.

Scott Burgess went looking for his second goal of the game with a long-range shot after 50 minutes, but Rose managed to tip it round the post for a Vale corner.

The resulting corner was headed just wide by Valiants centre back Shaun Brisley with the Vale pushing for a two-goal cushion. 

But it was Walsall who grabbed an equaliser after 58 minutes, as Adebayo’s ball across the box, was fired home by Josh Gordon, after Walsall had just begun to grow into the game.

A stunning Scott Brown save prevented the Saddlers from taking the lead as Adebayo’s shot seemed certain to hit the back of the net before Brown clawed it off the line and out of danger.

With twenty minutes left, the Vale had to deal with a tide of Walsall attacks, and Wes McDonald fired a decent effort just wide of the post with twenty minutes remaining. 

Walsall substitute Caolan Lavery tested the palms of Scott Brown with a stinging effort, but the Valiants keeper was able to collect the ball with ease.

But it was the Valiants who were pushing for the late winner as Rose had to stick a leg out to prevent Worrall’s volley from hitting the back off the net, after a period of the ball coming back and forth into the Walsall box.

Tom Pope’s shot from six yards was blocked by a multitude of Walsall bodies, in what proved to be the last meaningful action of the game.

The Valiants will aim to get back to winning ways at Vale Park next Saturday when they take on Scunthorpe United.

Match details:

Walsall: Rose, Facey, Scarr, Sadler, Pring, Holden, Kinsella, Guthrie (Sinclair 88’), McDonald, Gordon (Lavery 76’), Adebayo

Unused subs: Roberts, Clarke, Sinclair, Bates, Nolan, Sheron

Goals: Adebayo 15’ Gordon 58’

Port Vale: Brown, Smith, Brisley, Legge, Montano, Joyce, Burgess, Conlon (Oyeleke 66’), Worrall, Cullen (Pope 74’), Browne (Amoo 64’)

Unused subs: Maddison, Gibbons, Taylor, Bennett, Maddison

Goals: Legge 12’, Burgess 36’


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