Express & Star

Harrogate 0 Walsall 2 - Report

Mo Faal scored his first Walsall goal to propel his side into ninth place with a monumental 2-0 win over Harrogate Town at Wetherby Road.


The young forward brought down Hutchinson's diagonal pass and sent a deflected effort into the far corner six minutes from time after Liam Gordon had opened the scoring with his second of the season.

Matty Daly had a goal disallowed for offside for the visitors, who had won four of their last five on home soil, just before the break, but Douglas James-Taylor almost made it three when he steered his one-on-one finish onto the post.

Walsall leapfrogged opponents Harrogate with third consecutive league win. It was also the first time that the Saddlers had won at Wetherby Road.

Emmanuel Adegboyega continued in defence in the absence of Priestley Farquharson after scoring in both of his first two appearances for the club.

Ross Tierney, who scored his first league goal for the Saddlers in midweek, also retained his place over Jack Earing in midfield.

That meant Mat Sadler went with an unchanged XI but it was the hosts who enjoyed the majority of the early possession but Walsall retained a solid shape to largely keep them at bay.

Harrogate looked to threaten down the flanks with Jack Muldoon poking Matty Foulds' deflected cross wide, before Adegboyega cleared Derrick Abu's low ball which he flashed across the six-yard box.

Walsall reduced Harrogate's threat with a strong defensive performance but they had to pick their moments to attack. The first opening came through David Okagbue when he found himself in a prime position at the half way line after a strong run but Matt was unable to make use of his ball in behind.

Taylor Allen's distribution was at the heart of Walsall's most dangerous moments in the first half. The Saddlers utility man ventured out from the back to thread a ball to Josh Gordon in the left channel. Walsall patiently built through Tierney and Hutchinson before Knowles saw his low shot blocked.

Mo Faal scores and celebrates

Matt then came agonisingly close to finding the breakthrough but was just unable to connect with Allen's wicked delivery into the six-yard box.

Walsall had a big let-off before the break when Daly was flagged offside after converting the rebound from Dean Cornelius' rocket which cannoned off the crossbar.

The Saddlers flew out of the traps after the break and drew first blood when Liam Gordon found himself unmarked inside the box to tuck Knowles' low cross into the far bottom corner.

Ross Tierney could've doubled Walsall's advantage immediately after but squandered the chance from Hutchinson's cutback with a poor first touch.

Tom Knowles

Harrogate remained a threat as they went in search for an equaliser. George Thomson's deflected shot from the edge of the box whistled wide of the target and Anthony O'Connor stabbed over Foulds' delivery from the resulting corner.

Sadler made a double change just past the hour-mark with Jack Earing and Mo Faal being introduced at the expense of Tierney and Matt.

But Earing was booked within three minutes of entering the action when referee Alex Chilowicz adjudged the midfielder to have dived after he squeezed between two defenders and went down inside the penalty area.

Faal missed a golden chance to double Walsall's advantage as he blazed over from point-blank range after Hutchinson drilled a beautiful ball across the box.

The Albion loanee made no mistake with his second chance when he cushioned down a sumptuous cross-field ball by Hutchinson, cut inside and unleashed a deflected effort beyond the reach of Belshaw to open his goal scoring account for the Saddlers.

Walsall will look to step-up their play-off pursuit with the visit of Accrington Stanley to Bescot for their rearranged fixture on Tuesday evening.


Walsall (3-1-4-2): Smith; Adegboyega, Okagbue, Allen; Comley; Knowles (Foulkes 90 +1_, Hutchinson, Tierney (Earing 64), L Gordon; Matt (Faal 64), J Gordon (James-Taylor 85).

Not used: Evans, Riley, Stirk.

Harrogate (4-2-3-1): Belshaw; Abu, O'Connor, Gibson, Foulds; Cornelius (Falkingham 75), Dooley (Sutton 75); Thomson (March 62), Daly, Odoh (Bloxham 85); Muldoon.

Not used: Oxley, Burrell, Sivi.

Referee: Alex Chilowicz

Attendance: 3,167