Walsall 1 Oldham 1 - Report

Walsall were held to 1-1 draw at home to Oldham Athletic as their losing run came to an end.

Although both sides entered the clash in poor form, the Saddlers were bright in the opening exchanges.

A handful of efforts were blocked as Walsall searched for the first goal and it finally came on the stroke of half-time. Zak Jules finished from four yards to hand them a deserved lead at the break.

Oldham came out in the second half with a renewed sense of purpose and attacked from the first whistle. The home defence stood firm for large parts of the half, and had chances of their own, but the visitors eventually levelled after 75 minutes.

Substitute Davis Keillor-Dunn finished low from 12 yards after dominating spells of the second half.

Neither side could force a breakthrough in the closing minutes as they shared the points.

Darrell Clarke made three changes to his starting XI, using a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Jules made his return from injury and slotted into left-back, while Hayden White replaced Cameron Norman at right-back, who dropped to the bench.

Jack Nolan came in for his first League Two start of the season on the right wing, a year to the day that he signed for the club.

First team players Jack Rose, James Clarke, George Nurse and Danny Guthrie were all absent with injury. With Rose out, no goalkeeper was named on the bench.

Callum Cockerill-Mollett was among the substitutes following his injury comeback and he was joined by academy midfielder Sam Perry and Aston Villa loanee Tyreik Wright.

Harry Kewell made seven changes to his Oldham side following their midweek defeat, starting in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

German winger Marcel Hilssner made his Latics debut.

The opening 15 minutes came and went and saw no clear-cut chances for either side. Hilssner had a sniff of goal for the visitors but it came to nothing.

Nolan started brightly for the Saddlers with a few of his deliveries causing problems in the Oldham box and the first big chance came when a Nolan free-kick came all the way through and was palmed away by Lawlor. Josh Gordon’s follow-up strike was destined for the bottom corner but the goalkeeper again made a superb stop.

Wes McDonald then had a low effort flash just wide of the post from 25-yards. The chance came from a poor pass from centre-back Sido Jombati. Shortly after Gordon had a shot blocked following a cut-back from Elijah Adebayo.

Oldham grew into the game more as the game ticked beyond 40 minutes. A Danny Rowe effort from 35-yards blazed over the bar.

However, on the stroke of half-time Walsall took the lead. A Nolan free-kick came through to Alfie Bates on the right who crossed back in. Following a scramble in the box Jules unleashed an effort from four yards and although it was cleared off the line by Harrison Clarke, the officials adjudged that the ball had crossed the line.

The Saddlers then entered the break deservedly leading 1-0.

As the teams emerged for the second half, Dylan Bahamboula was introduced for Thomas Hamer. This meant Dylan Fage moved to right-back.

That change seemed to galvanise the visitors who were on top in the opening stages of the second half. Some astute Walsall defending, however, kept them at bay.

A superb low cross from Adebayo from the right flashed across goal and just evaded both Gordon and McDonald.

Gordon then met a fantastic Nolan cross but his volley was straight at the goalkeeper.

Oldham were pushing for an equaliser and a powerful Hilssner effort was palmed away by Liam Roberts. In the 75th minute they finally did level through substitute Keillor-Dunn. He was found in the box from 12 yards and with space finished neatly with his left foot.

The visitors were in the ascendency but some solid Walsall defending denied them a winning strike.

Both sides were trying to force a goal in the closing stages but it did not materialise, as they shared the points.


Walsall: Roberts, White, Scarr, Sadler, Jules (Cockerill-Mollett, 81), Nolan (Osadebe, 66), Kinsella, Bates, McDonald, Gordon (Lavery, 81), Adebayo.

Subs not used: Norman, Sinclair, Perry, Wright.

Oldham: Lawler, Hamer (Bahamboula, 45), Clarke, Jombati, Borthwick-Jackson, Ntambwe (Garrity, 63), McCalmont (Keillor-Dunn, 63), Fage, Hilssner (Jameson, 83), McAleny, Rowe.

Subs not used: Bilboe, Piergianni, Badan.

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