Skip to main content


17:32 19th December 2009


THE SADDLERS recovered from a poor first half showing to see a much-improved second half performance earn a point from a 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient.

WIthin the opening minute, a Walsall attack broke down and Scott McGleish made good progress down the left before cutting inside and getting in a shot that Clayton Ince could only push out into the path of Ryan Jarvis who had the simple task of firing home from close range.

As The Saddlers looked for a way back into the game, a number of corners came to nothing before Peter Till did well on the right to line up a cross for Mark Bradley but he couldn't get enough on his header.

On a decidedly chilly afternoon, the game was in need of something to warm it up as the half went on.

However, it was the visitors who extended their lead just before the half-hour mark when skipper, Stephen Purches did well on the left and his ball into the danger zone found Tamika Mkandawire who was up from the back and in space, and he applied the finish.

Shortly afterwards, Andros Townsend tried his luck from distance but the ball was deflected over.

As half-time approached, Matt Richards linked up with Darren Byfield on the edge of the area but Byfield, who signed a new long-term deal with the club this week, was crowded out as he looked to get in a strike at goal.

The Saddlers failed to seriously test the Leyton Orient 'keeper during the opening period and went in at the break hoping for much better in the second half.


It took just 15 seconds for Walsall to reduce the arrears at the start of the second half when Till's cross from the right found the head of Deeney who rose well to plant his header home.

With our tails up, Byfield set Deeney off in chase, but Jamie Jones in The O's' goal was alert to clear outsde his area. Then Richards' corner caused problems for the 'keeper and as the ball found its way out to Bradley, he fired over from distance.

It was an explosive start to the second period for Chris Hutchings' side, however, the visitors threatened when a cross to the far post was headed back into the path of McGleish by Melligan but the experienced front-man failed to turn the ball home from close range.

At the other end, Bradley put a chance well over before The Saddlers were back on level terms with 56 minutes on the clock as Till did well on the right and his cross caused concern for The O's defence who managed to block Bradley's effort only for the ball to find Deeney who made no mistake.

There was a booking for Bradley followijng a late challenge, whilst Richards' cross saw Byfield somehow denied from close range by Jones who did well to keep his goal intact.

On 67 minutes there was a real let-off for Walsall as Jarvis scooped the ball over from a good position in front of goal before Luke Summerfield - son of former Saddler, Kevin - had a stinging low drive blocked.

An inviting ball in from Bradley flicked off the head of Byfield and landed just wide. The lively front-man then saw a shot on the turn fail to trouble Jones.

There was a glorious chance for Byfield to grab the winner with just ten minutes left on the clock as Deeney played him through and as the offside flag stayed down, he tried to lift the ball over thenadvancing 'keeper, but failed to get enough on it and the opportunity was lost.

Leyton Orient were presented with an opening of their own after Ince's poor kick was seized upon by McGleish put he failed to make us pay as Vincent, who was playing in an unfamiliar central defensive role in the absence of skipper, Mark Hughes, completed the clearance.

A corner from the right found its way over to Manny Smith at the far post and after his effort was blocked, the loose ball fell to Richards who dragged the rebound narrowly wide.

It was to be the last real chance as honours ended even.


PHOTOS: David Linney Photography

The Saddlers were today showing their support for The Football League's ENJOY THE MATCH initiative that encourages foul and abusive language to be kept away from the family areas of the stadium.

Chris Hurtchings ENJOY MATCH web

    Data provided by Press Association


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