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MATCH REPORT: Walsall 3-3 Newport County

1 January 2022

A bonkers game in Walsall ended all square as the sides played out an enthralling 3-3 draw in the Black Country.

Newport were 1-0 up at half-time thanks to Dom Telford's goal in the fourth minute, but it was the second half that had all the drama.

Walsall were level in the 53rd minute when Conor Wilkinson scored with his first touch off the bench, but County were 2-1 up three minutes later via Wilkinson scoring in his own net this time.

Matt Dolan scored an own goal to make it 2-2 but a minute later, it was 3-2 to Newport.

Courtney Baker-Richardson crossed the ball in from the right to Aaron Lewis, Lewis turned his man and was tripped in the box, the ball dropped to another Newport man who struck the bar, with the ball seemingly going over the line, and Telford made sure it did by converting the rebound.

Walsall levelled matters for a third time though when Wilkinson scored from the edge of the box with a volleyed effort after he flicked the ball up for the shot.

The game started perfectly for County, as Telford put the Exiles ahead after just four minutes to show that a change in the year had done nothing to change the League Two top scorer's form in front of goal.

Dolan's corner from the right wasn't properly cleared by the Walsall defense which led to Ollie Cooper picking out Telford in space on the left of the box.

Telford had time to pick his spot before rifling into the bottom right corner for 1-0.

Baker-Richardson almost made it 2-0 with just a mere six minutes played, but County's other in-form striker nodded a cross from the right over the bar.

Dolan then struck a free-kick narrowly wide of the left-hand post in the eighth minute with Newport looking to extend their lead early on.

Walsall improved after the first 10 minutes, with Jack Earing shooting straight at Nick Townsend from the edge of the box before Emmanuel Osadebe shot wide of the far post from an acute angle on the quarter-hour mark.

Telford had a header from six yards out saved by Carl Rushworth while, at the other end, Kieran Phillips curled over the bar from the left of the box. George Miller and Telford then had headers clear the crossbar for both sides.

The half ended with another big chance for County with a lovely Newport move from defense to attack ending with Cooper having a shot punched clear by Rushworth.

Walsall scored the early goal in the second half though. Wilkinson, on as a 52nd-minute sub just before a corner, found the back of net from said corner with his first touch to level the score at 1-1 in the 53rd minute.

Four minutes later though, Wilkinson headed in his own net to put County back in the lead.

Telford broke the offside trap and had space down the right to run into. His cross was just a little too high for Finn Azaz in the six-yard box, but the ball went into the back of the net off Wilkinson's head.

In the 65th minute, the scores were level again when Dolan scored an own goal but in the 66th minute Newport took the lead for a third time.

Baker-Richardson's cross from the right found Aaron Lewis in the box who turned his man and was fouled, a shot then came back off the underside of the bar and appeared to cross the line but Telford made sure with the rebound from close range to make it 3-2 in County's favour.

A two-goal cushion was almost fashioned in the 77th minute but Baker-Richardson was denied by Rushworth in a one-on-one opportunuty.

And, at the death, Wilkinson made it 3-3 end a memorable encounter.

Walsall: Carl Rushworth, Hayden White, Stephen Ward (C), Ash Taylor, Lewis Kinsella, Emmanuel Osadebe (Joss Labadie '64), George Miller, Kieran Phillips (Conor Wilkinson '52), Jack Earing (Tyrese Shade '81), Otis Khan, Rollin Menayese

Subs not used: Jack Rose, Tom Leak, Sam Perry, Zak Mills

Newport County: Nick Townsend, Cameron Norman (Ryan Haynes '76), James Clarke, Robbie Willmott, Matt Dolan (C), Courtney Baker-Richardson (Alex Fisher '82), Aaron Lewis, Scot Bennett, Finn Azaz, Dom Telford (Priestley Farquharson '86), Ollie Cooper

Subs not used: Evan Ovendale, Lewis Collins, Jake Cain, Anuerin Livermore


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