Express & Star

Walsall 1 Notts County 3 - Report

Walsall were condemned to a 3-1 loss against Notts County at Bescot as they fell to a first home defeat in over two months.


Macauley Langstaff took just two minutes to break the deadlock, before Aaron Nemane doubled their lead in the 28th minute after Josh Gordon was denied an equaliser by the offside flag.

Brandon Comley was sent off for two bookable offences on the hour-mark but Mo Faal marked his appearance from the bench with his fourth Walsall goal 22 minutes from time.

The Magpies immediately added a third through Sam Austin to condemn Walsall to back-to-back defeats.

That result remarkably leaves Walsall still just three points off the play-offs places, although they dropped two places to 11th.

Walsall made one change with Donervon Daniels replacing Emmanuel Adegboyega, who dropped out of the squad altogether, for his first start since Good Friday.

Notts County also made just one alteration with Jodi Jones, who has registered a league-high 23 assists, being recalled to replace Adam Chicksen.

It took the Magpies just two minutes to find the breakthrough when Alassana Jata closed down David Okagbue down the left and squared for Langstaff to place a precise finish into the far bottom corner.

After a jittery opening, Walsall somewhat found their feet in the contest and had two chances to haul themselves level in quick succession. Josh Gordon's finish was deflected wide of the near post at the end of a patient passing move and Taylor Allen made a blistering run as he latched onto Liam Gordon's pass and slipped a low effort wide of the right-hand post.

Josh Gordon and John Bostock

Josh Gordon was denied an equaliser by the offside flag, although it looked like a very tight goal as he beat Luca Ashby-Hammond to Allen's floated pass to prod a volley into the bottom corner.

Just as it seemed Walsall were beginning to threaten a fightback, Nemane tricked his way past a couple of challenges to break inside and rifle an unerring strike into the roof of the net just before the half-hour mark.

They struggled to reassert themselves on the contest before the interval, as Josh Gordon hooked his overhead volley comfortably over the crossbar from Daniels' knockdown.

Sadler responded with a triple substitution at the start of the second half as Ross Tierney replaced Ryan Stirk in midfield, and the front pairing of Matt and Josh Gordon were swapped for Mo Faal and Douglas James-Taylor.

Faal almost made an immediate impact when he towered above his marker to nod Allen's curling corner onto the post just two minutes after the restart.

Walsall were then handed another blow when Brandon Comley was given his early marching orders just before the hour-mark when he was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Dan Crowley.

But the Saddlers almost halved the deficit immediately after when James-Taylor saw his finish swept off the line by Aden Baldwin.

Despite their numerical advantage, Walsall did pull one back when Faal applied the finishing touches to a sweeping counter-attack. James-Taylor cushioned down Allen's measured long pass into the path of Liam Gordon and the Guyana international picked out Faal, who slotted his finish beyond the reach of Ashby-Hammond.

Brandon Comley and John Bostock

But it would take Notts County less than 60 seconds to restore their two-goal cushion when Austin's shot appeared to have been saved by Owen Evans only for the ball to loop into the net.

Jamie Jellis was introduced for his debut in the closing stages and Faal almost doubled his tally when his header was tipped onto the bar by Ashby-Hammond. Tierney was unable to force the ball over the line and Faal blasted the follow-up over the crossbar.

The Magpies had two chances to add a second late on but Langstaff and David McGoldrick were unable to find the target.

Walsall are back in action at Bescot on Tuesday night when Swindon Town make the trip to the West Midlands.

Walsall (3-4-1-2): Evans; Daniels, Okagbue (Jellis 83), Allen; Comley; Foulkes, Hutchinson, Stirk (Tierney 46), L Gordon; J Gordon (James-Taylor 46), Matt (Faal 46).

Not used: Barrett, Farquharson, Johnson.

Notts County (3-5-2): Ashby-Hammond; Macari, Baldwin, Cameron (Brindley 71); Nemane (Randall 90 +3), Crowley, Bostock, Austin (O'Brien 87), Jones; Langstaff (Scott 90 +3), Jatta (McGoldrick 71).

Not used: Slocombe, Warner.

Referee: Scott Tallis

Attendance: 6,576 (1,158)