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09:46 23rd September 2009


THE SADDLERS failed to build on an impressive first half display to draw 1-1 with Swindon Town.

Straight from the kick-off Walsall were on the attack as Troy Deeney's shot was well blocked by David Lucas in the visitors' goal with just 12 seconds on the clock.

The resulting corner was only half-cleared as far as Matt Richards who drilled an effort just over.

It was a lively opening from Chris Hutchings' side and Deeney went close again on five minutes with a powerful strike.

The opening goal finally arrived on seven minutes when a slip in the Swindon defence was seized upon by the alert Deeney who made no mistake to fire past Lucas.

It was no more than The Saddlers deserved for their explosive opening to the game.

Some more slick play by Walsall saw Darren Byfield and Deeney combine as the latter picked out Alex Nicholls on the right. He cut inside before curling in an effort that Lecsinel Jean-Francois had to head clear in front of goal with Lucas beaten.

Swindon were not offering much as an attacking threat in the opening half-an-hour, with Jean-Francois' ambitious effort from distance flying well off target.

The Saddlers were not allowing Swindon time to settle on the ball and some good persistent play by Richards saw him find Dwayne Mattis whose low ball across the danger zone was cleared ahead of Byfield by Kevin Amankwaah.

The visitors fell asleep at a free-kick on 36 minutes, allowing Nicholls time and space out wide but his low cross was agonisingly just ahead of Byfield in the middle. Byfield then put Lucas under pressure from a high ball but was penalised .

Returning skipper, Mark Hughes did well to clear Jonathan Douglas' fierece drive off the line in what was Swindon's best moment of the half.

As half-time approached, the lively Byfield did well to dig out a cross for Nicholls who was in plenty of space at the far post, but he misplaced his header from a good position.

The second period started with Richards threading through Deeney who was denied by Lucas. Then at the other end, Billy Paynter was close to turning the ball home from close range.

There was a yellow card for Mattis in the 58th minute for a foul before former Swindon man, Sam Parkin was introduced into the action in place of Deeney who appeared to take a knock earlier in the half.

With 70 minutes on the clock, a defence-splitting ball from Amankwaah set substitute, Lloyd Macklin racing away only for his progress to be halted by Darryl Westlake. Despite the appeals of the travelling faithful behind the goal, nothing was given.

However, three minutes later Westlake's foul on Paynter did earn a spot-kick and a booking for the youngster. It was Paynter himself who stepped up and despite beating Rene Gilmartin, the ball struck the base of the post and rebounded to safety.

Walsall were finding themselves having to defend their one-goal lead as the visitors threw everything forward in search of an equaliser.

Swindon were awarded another penalty, this time for handball, on 79 minutes despite looking offisde in the build-up. Paynter made no mistake this time to make it 1-1.

Clayton McDonald was replaced by Rhys Weston after he too took a knock earlier in the half as Douglas headed just over for The Robins.

There was a free-kick for Walsall on the edge of the area after Byfield was brought down in full flight by Sean Morrison. Jamie Vincent stepped up and saw his effort hit the defensive wall before being cleared to safety.

In the end, Walsall had to settle for a share of the spoils.


PHOTOS: David Linney Photography / Kevin Grice

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.