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13 April 2024 Venue Poundland Bescot Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

Report: Walsall 1-3 Notts

Back-to-back wins secured

13 April 2024

Macaulay Langstaff, Aaron Nemane and Sam Austin were on the scoresheet as we secured victory in the West Midlands.

Langstaff got the show started with a second-minute finish, with Nemane's stunning solo effort doubling our lead before the break.

It looked like any hope the hosts had of finding a way back into the match had been extinguished when Brandon Comley was sent off on the hour - but Mo Faal scored shortly afterwards to give his side a fighting chance.

But another blow was to follow almost immediately as Austin made it three.

Stuart Maynard made one change to the side that beat Harrogate 3-0 last weekend, Jodi Jones replacing Adam Chicksen down the left.

That meant Luca Ashby-Hammond had the opportunity to pursue back-to-back clean sheets after his stunning performance against the Yorkshire outfit – and he was once again protected by a back three of Kyle Cameron, Aden Baldwin and Lewis Macari.

Nemane was equally impressive against Harrogate and retained his place on the right, with John Bostock and Sam Austin continuing in holding midfield.

Further forward, Dan Crowley and Langstaff supported PFA Player of the Month nominee Alassana Jatta.

We had the dream start as, inside two minutes, Jatta made a nuisance of himself as he chased Cameron’s ball into the channel before cutting it back for Langstaff, who composed himself before picking out the bottom corner.

The hosts responded with two decent opportunities as Cameron was forced to make an important sliding block to deny Josh Gordon at the near post, moments before Taylor Allen skipped his way into the area and sent a low shot across goal and wide of the far post.

And we were able to punish those missed chances in sensational style thanks to Nemane, who lodged a late Goal of the Season contender by weaving past three or four men on his way in from the right, riding a challenge and picking out the top corner with a sweetly-struck effort with his weaker left foot.

That proved to be the final notable action of the half – and Walsall boss Mat Sadler saw fit to make three changes at the break.

One of those to come on was Mo Faal – and he came within inches of halving the deficit within a minute of the restart as he sent the ball against the post from a corner.

But his side’s hopes of getting back into the contest were dealt a major blow just before the hour as Comley’s cynical trip on Crowley earned him his second yellow card, leaving his side to chase the game with 10 men.

Langstaff so nearly latched on to Crowley’s subsequent dinked free-kick – but then the hosts broke on us and should have halved the deficit when Ashby-Hammond was taken out of the game following a mix-up in our area. Cameron positioned himself on the line to make a crucial block, however.

Walsall continued to apply pressure to our goal, though, and it eventually told on 68 minutes as they got away down our left and transitioned the ball to Faal who this time made no mistake in the area.

But, just when it felt like the hosts may go on to achieve an unlikely comeback, we quashed their hopes as space opened up down the left for Jones to lay on yet another assist, this time for Austin whose well-struck shot was met with a strong hand by Owen Evans – but not strong enough as the ball eventually looped over the line.

The game remained open thereafter as our play-off chasing hosts continued to display a threat and, shortly after the stretching Langstaff had headed Crowley’s cross over, Faal could only skew a good chance over the bar after capitalising on a scramble in our area.

A good chance then passed Langstaff by as he controlled Jones’ lay-off in the area before guiding the ball wide, with David McGoldrick, on for Jatta, producing a lovely stepover and sending a low shot narrowly past the post moments later with what proved to be the final big moment.

STARTING XI: Ashby-Hammond; Cameron (Brindley 72'), Baldwin, Macari; Jones, Nemane (Randall 90+3'); Bostock, Austin (O'Brien 87'); Crowley, Langstaff (Scott 90+3'); Jatta (McGoldrick 71')

SUBS: Slocombe, Warner

BOOKINGS: Bostock 53’, Crowley 75'

ATTENDANCE: 6,576 (1,158)

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