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Walsall 2 Port Vale 0 - Report

Walsall's fine home form under Michael Flynn continued as second-half goals from Sam Perry and Emmanuel Osadebe completed the double over Port Vale.

SPORT COPYRIGHT MNA MEDIA TIM THURSFIELD 23/04/22.WALSALL V PORT VALE.Emmanuel Osadebe scores and celebrates....
SPORT COPYRIGHT MNA MEDIA TIM THURSFIELD 23/04/22.WALSALL V PORT VALE.Emmanuel Osadebe scores and celebrates....

It has not been a season to shout about for the Saddlers, but another victory over Vale gives fans reason to smile while Flynn has now won five of his six games at the Banks's Stadium.

While the first half of this encounter was uneventful, the hosts were bright in the second and good value for the three points in the end.

Perry's first goal of the campaign was set up by Osadebe, who then got in on the act in stoppage time to seal the deal.

Walsall will be wary of an injury picked up by skipper Joss Labadie in the first half.

On the whole, though, the Saddlers will be in high spirits after this solid triumph put them up to 14th in League Two and dented Vale's automatic promotion hopes.

Report

Walsall made four changes from the loss at Crawley as Donervon Daniels, Hayden White, Tyrese Shade and Devine came in.

Rollin Menayese, Tom Leak, Zak Mills and Perry dropped out while the Saddlers had academy player Jack Shaw on the bench again.

Former Walsall boss Darrell Clarke, who is gradually returning to his duties at Vale after a close family bereavement, was not at the game.

Manny Monthe gets to the ball

The Banks's pitch had been given a considerable soaking before kick-off in an apparent attempt to make things difficult for the high-flying visitors. The clash got off to a scrappy start as well.

Both teams had an early half-chance as a sloppy pass from Daniels went straight to Vale striker James Wilson, whose shot deflected off Daniels and out for a corner.

Saddlers forward George Miller then tried to pounce as Connor Hall got caught underneath a long ball, before the centre-half recovered to block the shot.

Neither side was able to retain possession for a prolonged period.

The visitors were probably just about shading it, but there was not a lot of quality to speak of in the opening half an hour.

Approaching the interval, Walsall's attacks became less and less frequent. Shade went on a couple of promising runs that came to nothing while Brendan Kiernan slowed down another encouraging move.

The best opening fell to the away side as Jamie Proctor took aim from the edge of the area but lifted his effort comfortably over the crossbar.

The Saddlers would then lose Labadie to injury before the interval. Having lunged in to make a tackle, the midfielder had to be helped off the pitch and was replaced by Perry.

Walsall – after Conor Wilkinson's ACL injury that could keep him out for a year – will hope it is nothing serious.

Sam Perry scores and celebrates

The Saddlers made another switch at the start of the second period as Menayese took Devine's place, and the Saddlers were struggling to get going.

The work ethic was there to see, but it was not quite clicking. A fine bit of work from Hayden White saw him beat his marker and send over an inviting cross, but there was nobody in the box to react to it.

The Saddlers threatened briefly as they won a corner and had Miller send a glancing header past the far post, with Vale then having a short spell of pressure that came to nothing.

A touch of quality was needed, and the hosts eventually came up with the goods.

Osadebe cut inside from the left flank and his inswinging cross was met by Perry, whose delicate glancing header beat the helpless Aidan Stone.

It was a well-taken goal and Walsall, to their credit, quickly went close to netting once more.

=Sam Perry scores and celebrates

Miller had done a fine job of occupying defenders throughout the afternoon and his powerful strike from a tight angle smacked the woodwork.

Vale responded to Perry's opener by making a triple substitution and were being willed on by the 2,000-plus travelling supporters

The Saddlers, however, managed to keep them at bay.

Carl Rushworth displayed top reflexes to keep out a free-kick from Chris Hussey – the low drive going through a crowd of bodies before the keeper stuck out his right leg.

As Vale pushed up the pitch, Walsall caught them out to put the result beyond any doubt in added time.

The ball fell kindly to Osadebe, who wrapped up a fine day for himself and Flynn's team on the whole by slotting into the net.

Frustrations threatened to spill over as some of the away fans appeared to try to get in the Saddlers end, with police fending them off.

Ultimately, Walsall were able to reflect on a sound day's work. It puts them level with last season's points tally with two games left to play.

Teams

Walsall (3-5-2): Rushworth; White, Daniels, Monthe; Shade, Labadie (Perry, 43), Earing, Osadebe, Devine (Menayese, 46); Kiernan, Miller

Subs not used: Rose (gk), Leak, Mills, Shaw, Rodney

Goals: Perry (67), Osadebe (90)

Vale (3-5-2): Stone; Smith, Martin, Hall; Worrall (Amoo, 72), Charsley, Pett (Hussey, 72), Garrity, Benning (Edmondson, 72); Proctor, Wilson

Subs not used: Holy (gk), Gibbons, Taylor, Harratt

Attendance: 6,840 (2,245 Vale fans)

Referee: Tom Nield

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