Walsall 0 Exeter 0 - Report and pictures

Walsall stretched their unbeaten league run to 11 games when they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Exeter City.

In a first half that provided few opportunities for both sides, Emmanuel Osadebe had the best chance when he turned behind from 10 yards.

Both teams had spells throughout the half but neither could get a foothold on the ball.

In the second period it was another tight affair but Walsall edged the play as Elijah Adebayo had a handful of efforts saved.

The hosts fell deeper in the final minutes as Exeter pushed for a winner but the final whistle blew with the teams sharing the points.

Darrell Clarke made two changes to his side from mid-week, starting in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Stuart Sinclair and Osadebe came into the side, with the latter making his first league start for the club. Danny Guthrie and Caolan Lavery dropped to the bench.

Deadline day signings Adan George and Jake Scrimshaw were both unavailable for the clash.

Matt Taylor also made two changes to his side, starting in a 4-4-2 formation.

Striker Ryan Bowman, who scored three goals against Walsall last season, missed out on the squad altogether.

The Saddlers started well and almost took the lead after 10 minutes through Osadebe. The midfielder met a low cross from Wes McDonald but his side footed effort from 10 yards was inches wide of the post.

Lewis Page was Exeter’s biggest threat as the full-back found space on the left on several occasions.

The visitors continued to grow into the game after Walsall’s good start and began putting more pressure on the Saddlers defence.

Following a half full of energy but perhaps lacking in quality the sides entered the break drawing 0-0.

A low effort from McDonald early on was saved as both sides were stuck in an even contest for the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

An opportunity fell to James Clarke after an hour when he got a toe on the ball following a Dan Scarr header. The goal was gaping and he should, perhaps, have done better to test the goalkeeper.

Walsall attempted to get a foothold of the game by introducing Guthrie and later bringing on Lavery, meaning the hosts changed to a 4-4-2 formation as Rory Holden moved to the right of midfield.

Minutes later, Lavery was inches away from latching onto a ball from Holden which would have put him clean through on goal.

An excellent save by Lewis Ward then denied Adebayo who had his header tipped over the bar. Guthrie delivered a perfect cross for the chance.

Liam Roberts almost made a serious mistake when he slipped coming for a loose ball. The angle was too tight for Ben Seymour to tap into the empty net and he was under pressure from Clarke.

Walsall were falling deeper as the final minutes of the half ticked by, while Exeter pushed for a winning goal.

Teams

Walsall: Roberts, Norman, Scarr, Clarke, Nurse, Sinclair (Guthrie, 59), Kinsella (Bates, 87), Osadebe (Lavery, 70), Holden, McDonald, Adebayo.

Subs not used: Rose, Jules, White, Nolan.

Exeter: Ward, Key, Sweeney, Parkes, Page, Williams, Taylor, Collins, Randal (Seymour, 83)l, Jay, Fisher (Law, 87).

Subs not used: Maxted, Caprice, Sparkes, Ajose, Dean.

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