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17:44 6th February 2010


THE SADDLERS made it three games unbeaten with a goalless home draw against Bristol Rovers.

A deep cross by Netan Sansara in the 13th minute was knocked into the path of Darren Byfield by Peter Till and he in turn teed up Richard Taundry for a shooting chance outside the area, but he blazed well over.

An excellent challenge by Darryl Westlake denied Wayne Brown as he was picked out in space inside the area by strike partner, Jo Kuffour.

With neither goalkeeper seriously tested as the half went on, Kuffour fired well wide, whilst at the other end, Byfield's probing run and low cross from the left of the area was scrambled clear from a crowded penalty area.

On the half-hour mark, Andy Williams twisted and turned to make room for a shot for the visitors which whistled past the post. Williams was then involved in clash with Sansara as he guided the ball out for a goal-kick. The Rovers player appeared to lash out but in the end, the referee gave both players a talking to and the match re-started with a Walsall free-kick.

As half-time approached, Byron Anthony went close from a corner for the visitors as Matt Richards was high, wide and handsome for The Saddlers in the next raid.

All in all neither goalkeeper had much to do in a first half that will probably be quickly forgotten.

The second period started with a low cross from former Saddler, Mark Wright which was bravely gathered by Ince at the feet of Kuffour. Ince took a bang on the head for his troubles, but he was soon up and okay.

Just before the hour-mark, a cross from the right by Till found Richards who had two bites of the cherry to get in a shot, the second of which saw him fire well over.

A powerful strike from Wayne Brown was straight down the throat of Ince before Dominic Blizzard tried his luck only for Ince to gather.

With 67 minutes on the clock, the pacy Kuffour broke the offside trap but Ince was quick off his line to make life difficult. The ball found its way over the 'keeper but Clayton McDonald was on hand to sweep up any danger.

The Saddlers were looking for a lift from somewhere and it almost came when Byfield looked to set up Richards, however he was crowded out as Rovers continued to get plenty of men behind the ball.

It was to be Richards' last involvement as he was replaced by Alex Nicholls.

After Till's cross was acrobatically cleared, he too was replaced as he gingerly left the field with Mark Bradley coming on.

As the clock ticked down, Ince did well to deny visiting skipper, Stuart Campbell before a last-minute corner for The Saddlers was headed against the crossbar by McDonald who had come up from the back.

The loose ball was scrambled clear by a grateful Rovers defence and they launched an attack of their own which resulted in a corner that ultimately came to nothing as honour ended even.

Part two of this double-header takes place on Tuesday evening as Walsall head to Bristol Rovers (kick-off 7.45pm).

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.