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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:32 23rd January 2016

WALSALL 1-1 BLACKPOOL

Walsall missed the chance to go top of League One after conceding a last-minute equaliser to draw with relegation-threatened Blackpool.

The Saddlers appeared on course for the summit after Jason Demetriou's tap-in put them ahead midway through the second half.

But the Seasiders snatched a point in the fourth minute of stoppage time, when Danny Philliskirk drilled home from close range.

The last-gasp strike meant Walsall slipped to third in the table, with Gillingham replacing them in the automatic-promotion positions.

Walsall head coach Sean O’Driscoll named an unchanged side from the team that beat Bury 3-2 at Gigg Lane last weekend.

The Saddlers enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening ten minutes, without really troubling the visitors’ goal.

Paul Downing Blackpool H 460x345

Blackpool, who were searching for their first victory at Walsall since 1900, grew into the contest and began to pose the greater threat.

On 11 minutes, the dangerous Jack Redshaw drove infield from the left before shooting straight at home keeper Neil Etheridge from 20 yards.

Moments later, Blackpool broke forward with Hayden White carrying the ball 50 yards before lifting a pass out to the unmarked Redshaw.

The diminutive striker controlled on his chest and hit a fierce half-volley goalwards but Etheridge pushed the ball away.

From the resulting corner, Redshaw turned an effort goalwards but Etheridge was again in the right place to thwart the ex-Morecambe striker.

Shortly after, midfielder Brad Potts, who scored twice in his side’s 5-0 win over Scunthorpe last Saturday, volleyed wide from the edge of the box.

After weathering a concerted 10-minute spell of Blackpool pressure, Walsall began to force the issue at the other end.

But despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, the hosts were struggling to break down a well-marshalled Blackpool rearguard.

Visiting keeper Colin Doyle was equal to Demetriou’s chip, while Tom Bradshaw and Romaine Sawyers each saw efforts blocked.

On the stroke of half-time, Bradshaw went down under a challenge inside the area but the Saddlers’ penalty appeals fell on deaf ears.

HALF-TIME: WALSALL 0-0 BLACKPOOL

Walsall started the second period purposefully, with Anthony Forde testing Doyle with a low attempt from distance.

Forde went close again on the hour mark, when he cut inside and unleashed a rasping left-footed drive which Doyle, at full stretch, did well to turn behind.

The Saddlers were knocking loudly on Blackpool’s door and threatened again moments later.

Bradshaw met Forde’s accurate right-wing cross with a firm downward header but Doyle produced an excellent one-handed save to paw the ball away.

Walsall’s pressure finally told on 66 minutes, when Taylor’s low driven cross-shot ran through to the far post for Demetriou to tap home.

Jason Demetriou Blackpool H 460x345

The home side looked to build on their lead, with Sawyers seeing a 20-yard strike held by Doyle.

The visitors’ first attempt of the second half came on 71 minutes, when loanee Uche Ikpeazu’s fierce strike from a tight angle was parried by Etheridge at his near post.

Five minutes later, Blackpool’s top scorer Mark Cullen chased a long ball before dragging a shot wide of the far upright.

The Saddlers, though, were looking comfortable and threatened to increase their advantage through Mantom, who saw a right-footed strike parried by Doyle.

Tom Bradshaw Blackpool H 460x345

But Walsall suffered stoppage-time heartbreak, as Ikpeazu’s free-kick deflected fortuitously into the patch of Philliskirk, who calmly slotted past Etheridge from six yards.

It was a sickener for the Saddlers.

FULL-TIME: WALSALL 1-1 BLACKPOOL

Team: Etheridge, Demetriou, O’Connor, Downing, Taylor, Chambers, Mantom, Forde, Henry (Preston 91'), Sawyers (Morris 89'), Bradshaw (Lalkovic 86').

Subs not used: MacGillivray, Flanagan, Cook, Kinsella.

Attendance: 5,022 (352 Blackpool supporters).

    QUICK FACTS

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