20 November 2019 22:34
A 2-2 draw between Walsall and Darlington on 9 November sent their first-round tie to a replay Caolan Lavery's second-half goal sent Walsall into the FA Cup second round at the expense of National League North club Darlington. Striker Lavery settled their first-round replay with a powerful near-post header from Rory Holden's right-wing corner. The Saddlers will host Oxford United of League One in the second round. The replay at Blackwell Meadows lacked the drama of the first game between the teams, which ended 2-2 after Darlington netted a 97th-minute equaliser. The hosts, 14th in the sixth tier, battled hard but struggled to create many clear opportunities against their League Two opponents.
Will Hatfield tested Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts with an angled shot early on, but the hosts rarely threatened after Lavery's opener. Walsall, who are now four games unbeaten in all competitions after a run of six successive league defeats, scored with their only attempt on target. Victory over Oxford on 30 November would see them match last season's run to the third round of the competition. OXFORD United will visit Walsall in the Emirates FA Cup second round next weekend. The Saddlers, who are 21st in Sky Bet League Two, came through their replay with hosts Darlington, winning 1-0.
There is a very different feel for this game in comparison to the previous match due to us (strangely) playing well. Yes it has only been two games, but it has been a very big two games. In football you can only beat the team in front of you. We know full well that Darlington will work hard, press well, and break forward with speed when they can. They will be without Justin Donawa and Osagi Bascome, who provided the assist for Darlingtons equaliser, as they will be on Bermuda international duty, alongside former Saddler, Milan Butterfield. Despite losing two players, Darlington will no doubt have adequate replacements ready to fill the void in what is a big game for the club. As for Walsall? Without a doubt, Clarke will want his team to keep the momentum from the last couple of games and secure a place in the 2nd Round.