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MATCH REPORT: Walsall 1-1 Newport County

18 February 2023

Cam Norman's late header salvaged a point at Walsall as our unbeaten run stretches to four games.

Isaac Hutchinson put the hosts ahead midway through the first half but Norman popped up in the 76th minute to nod home a right-sided corner for a share of the spoils.[

Scot Bennett thought he had had the first chance of the contest, but his half-volley from the edge of the box that was saved wouldn't have counted anyway as the ball had gone out for a goal-kick in the build up. 

Walsall did get a good opening in the 11th minute though when a low, driven free-kick from the right picked out Joe Low who was denied by Nick Townsend who got down low quickly to keep out the snapshot effort before County cleared. 

County had a half-chance just past the quarter hour mark, but James Clarke didn't test the keeper with a header from Mickey Demetriou's throw that went wide. 

The hosts got the lead in the 32nd minute though when Hutchinson's powerful volley found the back of the net after taking a nick and flying past Townsend for 1-0.

We had another opportunity in the closing stages of the first half, but Bennett struck a half-volley from the edge of the box high and wide after Demetriou's throw from the left was only headed out as far as Bennett. 

Townsend was needed again in first-half stoppage time to dive to his left to grab Mat Stevens' attempt from the D on the edge of the box. 

Graham Coughlan made four changes at half-time to try and inspire a change of fortunes for County and two of them combined for a shot three minutes into the second half. Aaron Lewis' corner from the right found Matt Baker in space but he could only shoot wide.

Nathan Moriah-Welsh had a pop shot later in the half and he too was unsuccessful as it dropped wide of the right-hand post.

Newport really put the pressure on in the final quarter of an hour, with Will Evans first having a powerful strike from the left of the box pushed away by Owen Evans in the Walsall goal.

And three minutes later it was 1-1 as Norman expertly guided a corner from the right into the back of the net with a lovely header to send the 889 Exiles behind that goal into raptures. 

Despite some late endeavour, County couldn't manage any more final chances to try and turn the game on its head.

Townsend had some late work to do though, diving well to his left to push away Tom Knowles' free-kick as both teams took home a point each. 

Walsall: Owen Evans, Hayden White, Liam Gordon (Joe Riley '68), Donervon Daniels (C), Manny Monthe, Tom Knowles, Brandon Comley, Jamille Matt, Matty Stevens (Douglas James-Taylor '68), Isaac Hutchinson, Joe Low

Subs not used: Jackson Smith, Andy Williams, Oisin McEntee, Taylor Allen, Yann Song'o

Newport County: Nick Townsend, James Clarke (Matt Baker '45), Priestley Farquharson, Mickey Demetriou (C), Cameron Norman, Adam Lewis (Charlie McNeill '81), Scot Bennett (Aaron Lewis '45), Nathan Moriah-Welsh, Harry Charsley (Will Evans '45), Omar Bogle, Calum Kavanagh (Offrande Zanzala '45)

Subs not used: Joe Day, Sam Bowen

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