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17:26 6th March 2010


THE SADDLERS were denied victory by a last-gasp equaliser from Millwall as we let a two-goal lead slip at Banks's Stadium to draw 2-2.

A foul by Jamie Vincent on Neil Harris within the opening minute gave the visitors a free-kick out wide which Chris Hackett curled in invitingly but Walsall were able to clear.

An excellent ball from the middle of the park by Troy Deeney split The Lions' defence and set Alex Nicholls racing through. He remained calm to fire home with a neat finish and open the scoring in the 11th minute.

It was a scrappy opening quarter of the game as both teams looked to get used to the conditions. Steve Jones, who was back in the starting line-up, tried to provide a spark but was halted in his tracks just outside the area.

Some battling play by Matt Richards on 26 minutes saw him unsettle the Millwall defence before linking up with Josh O'Keefe who in turn found Nicholls. As his effort was blocked, the ball found its way out to Richard Taundry who fired home with a sweet strike from distance that flew beyond David Forde to make it 2-0.

Within minutes, The Lions were given a lifeline when some defensive hesitation between Vincent and Rene Gilmartin ended with the 'keepers' clearance striking Steve Morison who was then able to roll the ball into an unguarded net to reduce the arrears.

There was a booking for Matt Richards for high feet on Hackett and from the resulting free-kick, Neil Harris went close with a header.

After Vincent did well to clear ahead of Harris in the 40th minute, the ball found its way to Tony Craig on the left-hand side and his drive clipped the outside of the post.

Millwall ended the first half strongly as they searched for an equaliser, but Chris Hutchings' side were able to hold onto their lead going into the break.

Alex Nicholls v Millwall WEB

There was a change at half-time as Darryl Westlake replaced Weston.

The first chance of the second period fell to Millwall who broke down the right to set up substitute, Shaun Batt who placed his effort just wide with his first touch.

On 63 minutes Richards was sent off for his second bookable offence as he halted a Millwall raid down their right.

After Danny Schofield had dragged a low strike well wide, Morison's goalwards header was cleared from right in front of goal by Clayton McDonald.

A stooping header by Morison from six yards out was well saved by Gilmartin.

With 76 minutes on the clock, Jones was replaced by Mark Hughes as Chris Hutchings reorganised his pack.

Nicholls was booked for time-wasting before being replaced by Darren Byfield against his former club.

With virtually the last kick of the game in injury time, Millwall snatched a point when the ball was only half-cleared as far as Dunne who hit a sweet strike that flew home.

It was cruel on The Saddlers who battled well.

PHOTOS: David Linney Photography

Alex Nicholls 1 v Millwall WEB


    Data provided by Press Association


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