April 6, 2013
Saddlers settle for draw on big day
Walsall were unable to mark their 125th anniversary celebrations with a victory as Sheffield United hit back to earn a 1-1 draw at the Banks's Stadium.
It looked like they might when Craig Westcarr scored a minute before half-time, netting his fifth goal for the club.
But Blades boss Danny Wilson made two key substitutions at the start of the second half and one of the newcomers, Chris Porter, grabbed the equaliser just after the hour mark.
Walsall, really needing a win to boost their play-off hopes, dominated the first half but the visitors defended deep and enjoyed several close shaves.
Meanwhile, home defender Andy Taylor, playing against his old club, made one excellent tackle in the box to deny Jamie Murphy in the 23rd minute.
The Saddlers poured forward repeatedly and dangerman Febian Brandy missed a great chance, shooting wide after breaking clear in the 42nd minute.
But Walsall took the lead they deserved when Ben Purkiss combined with James Baxendale, who crossed low for Westcarr to beat George Long with a low shot.
Brandy missed a great chance to seal it for the Saddlers when he shot wide in the 51st minute with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Porter prodded the Blades level from close range after 64 minutes after Kevin McDonald's shot came back off a post.
|28 Sam Johnstone||25 George Long|
|4 Andy Butler||6 Matthew Hill|
|14 Ben Purkiss||15 Neill Collins|
|26 Andy Taylor||4 Danny Higginbotham|
|22 Paul Downing||5 Harry Maguire|
|7 Adam Chambers||19 Barry Robson|
|27 Sam Mantom||8 Michael Doyle|
|24 James Baxendale||11 Kevin McDonald|
|10 Jamie Paterson||14 Dave Kitson|
|29 Craig Westcarr||16 Jonathan Forte|
|12 Febian Brandy||23 Jamie Murphy|
|31 Liam Roberts||Danny Coyne 35|
|5 Dean Holden||Darryl Westlake 2|
|20 Malvind Benning||Terry Kennedy 32|
|6 Nicky Featherstone||Callum McFadzean 26|
|11 Ashley Hemmings||Elliott Whitehouse 27|
|33 Romaine Sawyers||Chris Porter 9|
|17 George Bowerman||Joe Ironside 24|
|Malvind Benning for Andy Taylor (57)||Chris Porter for Dave Kitson (46)|
|Ashley Hemmings for James Baxendale (83)||Callum McFadzean for Barry Robson (60)|
|Romaine Sawyers for Febian Brandy (90)|
|Febian Brandy (80)||Matthew Hill (90)|
|Andy Butler (90)|
|· Squads: Walsall | Sheffield United|