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22:15 3th April 2010


THE SADDLERS had to battle with ten men on a heavy Edgeley Park pitch for over 70 minutes as we came home from Stockport County with a point in a 1-1 draw.

Within the opening minute, Rene Gilmartin had to be alert to get down well and deny George Donnelly who managed to get in behind Manny Smith.

At the other end, Walsall's first sight of goal saw Julian Gray fire off target.

On seven minutes, Jemal Johnson made good progress as space opened up in front of him for a shot that was pulled wide as bottom-of-the-table Stockport made a lively start to the proceedings.

Steve Jones attempted to create a spark for The Saddlers as he skipped past a number of challenges before taking on one opponent too many as the home side were able to clear their lines.

There was a key moment in the 18th minute as a corner from the left was not properly cleared as a shooting chance opened up for Paul Huntington from close range which was blocked on the line by Troy Deeney. The referee promptly pointed to the spot and dismissed Deeney for deliberate handball.

Former Saddler, Jabo Ibehre stepped up to convert from the spot.

With 25 minutes on the clock, Richie Partridge was allowed time and space to attack before placing his lobbed effort just over the crossbar.

Darren Byfield had a half-chance, but Owain Fon Williams in the home goal did well to block before Gilmartin had to be at his best at the other end to pull off a one-handed point-blank save to deny James Vincent who latched onto the lively Johnson's low ball into the danger zone.


After a subdued first half, The Saddlers came out of the blocks with real purpose for the second period and in the opening minute of the restart, a ball pumped into the area saw Manny Smith make his presence in the air as the ball fell to Julian Gray on the left who equalised with a sweet half-volley.

A raid on the right by the home side saw a low ball fall at the feet of Partridge who lashed over from a good position. Then, after Jones had seen his progress halted inside the area for Walsall, the home side went on the attack again as Johnson cut inside only for his powerful drive shave the post.

The home side were coming back to life and substitute, Paul Turnbull was denied from distance by a good save from Gilmartin.

Some brave defending by Smith saved The Saddlers as Stockport searched for the winner.

There was a change by Chris Hutchings as Alex Nicholls replaced Jones with ten minutes to go.

A sweeping move by County saw play switched from left to right as Johnson controlled the ball well bearing in mind the conditions of the Edgeley Park surface, which had rugby played on it the previous evening, and he made room for a strike that lacked the necessary power to trouble Gilmartin too much.

Sam Parkin replaced Byfield and then Mark Bradley came on for Gray as in between Danny Swailed saw a towering header from a corner land agonisingly wide as Stockport forced a couple of corners in quicj succession.

There were several late scares as Walsall held on to claim a point and end our losing away run.

STOCKPORT Manny Smith and Jabo Ibehre WEB

PHOTOS: Kevin Grice

    Data provided by Press Association


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