Mansfield 1 Walsall 1 - Report and pictures

Walsall battled back from a losing position to earn a draw away at Mansfield Town.

Despite starting the game well, the Saddlers found themselves behind after half an hour when experienced striker Nicky Maynard pounced on some slack defending to turn home from six yards.

After ending the first half with a whimper, Walsall came out of the blocks quickly in the second period and equalised through Elijah Adebayo within three minutes.

Maynard had a glaring opportunity later in the second half, while the Saddlers also created chances but the two sides shared the points on a cold afternoon in the East Midlands.

Darrell Clarke made two changes to the side that lost to Cambridge United in midweek, starting in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Liam Kinsella and Caolan Lavery dropped to the bench as Stuart Sinclair and Emmanuel Osadebe came into the team.

Richard Cooper started his Stags team in a 4-3-3 formation for his first game in charge as caretaker manager.

He made two changes to the side that lost to Barrow on Tuesday as former Saddlers striker Andy Cook started up front.

Walsall started the game well, despite the muddy pitch, and almost took the lead in the opening two minutes.

Wes McDonald delivered a delightful cross for Adebayo at the far post but with the striker sliding in and stretching he was a yard off converting.

Maynard was causing the Saddlers problems playing behind the two strikers, but after 16 minutes Walsall had a glaring opportunity. Following a McDonald cross a bit of luck saw the ball pop up to Osadebe and from 10 yards, with the goal gaping, he smashed his effort straight at goalkeeper Marek Stech.

Just after half an hour Mansfield took the lead through Maynard. A corner fell to George Lapslie on the edge of the box and his attempted shot fell to Maynard, who was lurking behind the Walsall defence and finished from six yards.

Despite starting the half well, Walsall fell short following Mansfield’s goal and looked devoid of ideas. The hosts entered the break leading 1-0.

Within three minutes of the restart, Walsall were level. McDonald and George Nurse worked well together down the left and the latter crossed low for Adebayo who squeezed his shot in at the near post.

White, who picked up a booking early in the half, was almost sent off for a rash tackle in midfield. He was then taken off for Norman to ensure the Saddlers were not reduced to 10 men.

Mansfield should have taken the lead when Maynard completely missed the ball from six yards and when Harry Charsley followed up from the edge of the box, Liam Roberts made a magnificent save to deny him.

A powerful effort by substitute Kinsella was palmed away by Stech as Walsall looked for another goal. A low cross from Lavery then almost found Adebayo with the goal gaping.

Osadebe was inches away from winning it in added time when his powerful volley smashed off the crossbar.

Both sides pushed for a winner in the closing minutes of the game but they could not be separated and shared the points.

Teams

Walsall: Roberts, White (Norman, 65), Scarr, Jules, Nurse, Guthrie (Kinsella, 52), Sinclair (Lavery, 69), Osadebe, Holden, McDonald, Adebayo.

Subs not used: Rose, Sadler, Bates, Scrimshaw.

Mansfield: Stech, Gordon, Rawson, Perch, McLaughlin, Lapslie, Maris, Charsley, Maynard, Cook (Bowery, 75), Reid.

Subs not used: Stone, Menayese, Clarke, Sinclair, Law, Smith.

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