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17:30 14th November 2009


THE SADDLERS ran out worthy winners with a 2-0 victory over Stockport County.

A speculative shot from distance after just 18 seconds by Darren Byfield crept inches wide with the 'keeper struggling.

At the other end, Carl Baker took a tumble inside the area but half-hearted appeals for a penalty for the visitors were waved away.

Baker then tested Clayton Ince in the eighth minute as Stockport started to get into their stride.

A foul on Steve Jones gave Walsall a free-kick in a promising position that Matt Richards curled into the defensive wall and as the ball deflected high into the air, the wind almost caught out Owain Fon Williams in the visitors' goal who had to touch the ball out for a corner that ultimately came to nothing.

A low effort from Nicholas Bignall was gathered by Ince as the game found itself in need of a spark from somewhere.

After Bignall found space on the left, his cross was turned over by Liam Bridcutt.

With half-an-hour gone, Jones pulled the ball back from the by-line to Deeney whose effort was bravely blocked. As the ball was returned into the danger zone, Michael Raynes was rather robust as he challenged Deeney, but nothing was given.

As the half wore on, a corner from Richards found Mark Hughes at the far post but he couldn't turn the ball home from close range, whilst at the other end, Peter Thompson saw a shot whistle just past the post.

On 36 minutes, Jones embarked upon a positive run only to be brought crashing down as he was in full flow by Adam Griffin, who duly received a yellow card. Byfield also had his name taken for his part in a melee that followed.

Once order was restored, Richards stepped up to curl the free-kick home with much aplomb to make it 1-0 and that is how it stayed going into the interval.


The Saddlers came out with purpose at the start of the second period and shortly after the restart, Byfield linked up with Deeney whose strike hit the outside of the post. The ball eventually found its way out to Bradley who tried his luck with a powerful effort that struck Byfield and deflected away from goal.

Richards was denied by Fon Williams as Deeney dipped an effort narrowly over.

There were shouts for a penalty from the visitors after Bignall went down under the challenege of Hughes but the referee, who had a good look, was unimpressed and allowed the game to continue.

The second goal arrived on 55 minutes when Bradley did well to win the ball in midfield. He fed Mattis who in turn found Deeney and he played in strike partner, Byfield who expertly lifted the ball home.

After some hard work from Thompson, the ball fell to Bignall who blasted wide from a good position.

Jones fired over from inside the area before a superb reflex save from Ince in the 80th minute saw him deny Oli Johnson who showed sharp feet to cut inside the area and make room for a strike.

Shortly afterwards, Richards almost extended the lead when he put another free-kick, this time from wide on the right, just wide of the target.

A sweeping Walsall move ended with Jones flashing a low shot wide as he looked to continue his impressive vein of scoring form.

The visitors ended with something of a flurry, but James Vincent couldn't beat Ince with his header as The Saddlers made it three wins in a row.


PHOTOS: David Linney Photography

    Data provided by Press Association


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