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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:45 19th September 2015
By  Daniel Briggs

PETERBOROUGH 1-1 WALSALL

Substitute Michael Bostwick scored a controversial late penalty to deny Walsall victory against ten-man Peterborough.

After a goalless first-half, Romaine Sawyers gave the Saddlers a deserved 53rd-minute lead with a thunderous 25-yard strike.

The hosts were reduced to ten men on 84 minutes, when Jermaine Anderson was sent off for throwing a water bottle into the crowd.

But just moments later, Neil Etheridge brought down Bostwick in the area and the midfielder stepped up to smash home the subsequent spot-kick.

Walsall remain in second place in League One - a point behind new leaders Burton.

Boss Dean Smith made one change to the Saddlers’ starting XI, with Reece Flanagan coming in for Milan Lalkovic, who dropped to the bench.

Walsall - playing in a 3-5-2 formation - started the match brightly, dominating possession in the early stages.

Sam Mantom saw a low-range attempt blocked, and Reece Flanagan fired a low left-footed drive just wide from the edge of the box.

Sam Mantom Peterborough A 460x345

Peterborough, who had Grant McCann in caretaker charge, gradually began to impose themselves on the game.

Visiting keeper Etheridge made routine stops from Jermaine Almeida Santos’ header and Marcus Maddison’s deflected shot, while Chris Forrester sliced well wide from 25 yards.

Goal attempts were few and far between in an evenly-matched first half.

On 31 minutes, Sam Mantom teed up Flanagan to shoot, this time with his right foot, but his 20-yard drive was straight at Posh custodian Ben Alnwick.

The hosts went close to breaking the deadlock eight minutes before the break.

Erhun Oztumer curled a right-footed effort towards the far bottom corner, but Etheridge got down well to make a fine one-handed stop.

Moments later, Souleymane Coulibaly cut inside from the right before shooting tamely wide.

HALF-TIME: PETERBOROUGH 0-0 WALSALL

Three minutes into the second period, Mantom and Romaine Sawyers combined well to set up Tom Bradshaw on the edge of the box.

The Saddlers' top-scorer - last week's two-goal hero against Doncaster - let fly but his shot took a wicked deflection and trickled through to Alnwick.

On 53 minutes, Walsall took the lead.

Sawyers collected the ball in space, 30 yards from goal, and rocketed a rasping long-range strike past the helpless Ben Alnwick.

Alnwick got a touch to the ball, but the power took it past him.

It was the attacking midfielder’s fifth goal of the season – a stunning strike reminiscent of his second goal at Blackpool three weeks ago.

The Saddlers were in the ascendancy.

Mantom reached the byline and delivered a low cross into the middle to Sawyers, who side-footed straight at Alnwick.

The former then tried his luck with a speculative half-volley from just inside the Peterborough half, which sailed off target.

Jordan Cook Peterborough A 460x345

Sawyers was wreaking havoc.

First, he glided past Almeida Santos and produced a menacing low centre which Gabriel Zakuani, facing his own goal, did well to clear.

The Saddlers’ goalscorer then fired over from 20 yards after latching onto Henry’s pass, and saw another attempt fly into the arms of Alnwick.

With six minutes remaining, the contest exploded into life.

Peterborough were reduced to ten men as Anderson was sent off for violent conduct after throwing a water bottle into the crowd.

Anderson was left bemused by the decision.

But despite their man disadvantage, Posh equalised just moments later.

Bostwick was adjudged to have been fouled by Etheridge inside the box, and the midfielder smashed the resulting penalty straight down the middle.

Walsall could - and perhaps should - have won it at the death.

At the end of a flowing move, Sawyers played in Milan Lalkovic, who saw a right-footed shot deflect narrowly wide.

Milan Lalkovic Peterborough A 460x345

Sawyers' long-range drive was then superbly tipped over by Alnwick, and Forde's curler was also kept out by the home stopper.

And then, in the fifth minute of added time, Walsall were inches away from a dramatic winner when Mantom crashed a venomous strike against the bar.

FULL-TIME: PETERBOROUGH 1-1 WALSALL

Team: Etheridge, Demetriou, Taylor (Forde 82'), O’Connor, Downing, Chambers, Mantom, Bradshaw (Lalkovic 69'), Sawyers, Henry, Flanagan (Cook 69').

Subs not used: MacGillivray, Baxendale, Preston, Morris.

Attendance: 5,859 (387 Walsall supporters).

    QUICK FACTS

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