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Match Reports

Report: Iron 0-2 Walsall

26 December 2019

The Iron fell to a Boxing Day defeat to Walsall in the final home fixture of the decade. The Saddlers struck either side of the interval through Wes McDonald and Alfie Bates.

The Iron almost opened the scoring in a neat move, inside nine minutes. Kevin van Veen and Alex Gilliead combined as the latter, out on the right, crossed for Lee Novak who fired over the crossbar.

Wes McDonald registered a first effort on target for the visitors. The midfielder took aim from outside the area but his effort lacked conviction, comfortable for Rory Watson.

In the 24th minute, van Veen went close, taking aim from 25 yards out but saw his shot deflected behind for a corner, flashing just wide of the upright.

Moments later, Dan Scarr found himself in acres of space inside the box but headed Alfie Bates’ corner kick straight at Watson.

The Iron were awarded a free-kick mid-way through the half for a foul on Abo Eisa, driving at the Saddlers’ defence. Van Veen’s set piece was superbly saved by Liam Roberts in the visitors’ goal, getting down low to his left to make the stop.

Watson was forced into a save by Caolan Lavery on the half hour mark, after the striker pounced on a loose ball inside the area, and one-on-one, the ‘keeper made the block.

The Iron countered and the ball fell to Eisa but Roberts was equal to the low strike.

With 10 minutes remaining of the first period, United won a free-kick out on the right after van Veen was felled. The striker dusted himself off to take the set piece and cut the ball back to Levi Sutton, lurking on the edge of the area. His strike took a nick off Stuart Sinclair and Roberts claimed it.

James Perch was the next Iron player to test Roberts. His half-volley bounced awkwardly for the ‘keeper who managed to hold it.

Perch spurned another chance after getting on the end of Gilliead’s delivery from the right, but the former slipped in taking it.

It was the Saddlers who made it 0-1, with 44 minutes on the watch. Wes McDonald blasted the ball into the top corner and beyond Watson to hand the visitors a lead just before the break.

Five minutes into the second period, Rory Gaffney raced down the left but skied his shot, blasting the ball over the bar.

At the other end of the pitch, Novak latched onto the end of Junior Brown’s ball and did well on the by-line, taking on two Saddlers players, before his looping effort took a deflection over the bar.

With 55 minutes played, Roberts tipped Sutton’s curling effort onto the bar, letting fly from the edge of the area.

Sutton rifled another effort towards goal from range, with 64 minutes on the watch, which took a deflection behind. However, the corner came to nothing.

In the 70th minute, Brown could have levelled for the Iron. Perch’s ball was pinpoint for the left-back, making a run at the back post, but a Walsall defender beat him to it.

The Iron were awarded a free-kick in a central position in the 77th minute. Van Veen struck it and the dead ball fizzed just wide of the post.

Walsall doubled their advantage, with seven minutes of the game remaining. Bates made it 0-2 to the visitors from close range, sending all three points back to the West Midlands.

IRON: Watson, van Veen, Perch, Novak, Gilliead, Sutton (Ward 83’), McArdle, McGahey, Brown (Proctor 77’), Eisa, Bedeau. 

IRON UNUSED SUBS: Collins, Butler, Dales, Butroid, McAtee.

WALSALL: L. Roberts, Pring, Sadler, Clarke, Scarr, Sinclair, Kinsella, Lavery (Adebayo 87’), Bates, McDonald (Guthrie  71’), Gaffney (Gordon 80’).

WALSALL UNUSED SUBS: Rose, K. Roberts, Holden, Jules.

ATTENDANCE: 3,842.


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