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01:09 13th March 2013


THERE was a chill in the March air as The Saddlers stepped out for the first of two home games in a week as we locked horns with Tranmere Rovers.

After an early raid from the visitors which saw Aaron McCarey gather at his near post, Walsall's first attack saw Jamie Paterson win the ball inside the area and guide his effort past the onrushing 'keeper, but the ball lacked pace and Liam Palmer was able to clear from in front of goal without too many problems.

With 11 minutes on the clock, Will Grigg beat the offside trap out wide to feed Paterson who managed to lift the ball to the far post where Andy Butler's header was saved by Owain Fon Williams.

There was an excellent tackle by James Chambers inside the area to deny the marauding Max Power as the game hit something of a stalemate.

A snap-shot on the half-hour by Paterson was pushed out by Fon Williams.

Shortly afterwards a long-range drive from Sam Mantom struck the base of the post and bounced away from goal as Walsall started to stamp their authority on proceedings. Then a Craig Westcarr crossed was volley just over from Paterson.

As half-time approached, Westcarr chased a long ball and managed to pull it back across goal but there was no-one on hand to benefit.

HALF-TIME: Walsall 0 Tranmere Rovers 0

The first action of the second period saw Brandy's positive run into the penalty area ended with him being hacked down by Danny Holmes. It was a clear penalty and so, as has been a regular feature of matches recently, Will Grigg slotted home to make it 1-0.

With our tails up, we went close in our next raid as the 'keeper gathered at the second attempt.

It was 2-0 just before the hour when James Chambers did well to bring the ball out of defence and link up with Westcarr who fired a missile into the net to give the 'keeper no chance whatsoever.

There were bookings for Westcarr and Brandy as Tranmere won a free-kick out wide and there was a little bit of a fracas that followed.

Tranmere rode their luck a couple of times in quick succession as Fon Williams denied Walsall a third goal.

A foul by Butler gave Rovers a free-kick in a promising position which Abdulai Bell-Baggie curled goalwards but McCarey saved.

There was a warm round of applause for Brandy as he was replaced by Nicky Featherstone with seven minutes to go.

The Saddlers good value for our lead and continuing to work hard.

Another sharp move ended with Westcarr guiding the ball just wide.

It's another three points in the bag for The Saddlers against a side who have been up there all season. Bring on Crawley Town on Saturday... Don't you dare miss it!

FULL-TIME: Walsall 2 Tranmere Rovers 0


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