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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:45 19th April 2016
By  Daniel Briggs

WALSALL 1-1 SWINDON

Substitute Kieron Morris' second-half equaliser rescued Walsall a precious point against mid-table Swindon.

Michael Doughty fired the visitors ahead just before the hour mark, but Morris equalised on 71 minutes.

The Saddlers remain third in League One, three points behind second-placed Burton, who were to held a 1-1 draw against Wigan, with a game in hand.

Head coach Jon Whitney named an unchanged team for the second match in succession.

The Saddlers, who were targeting a third successive home victory, started brightly and immediately put Swindon on the back foot.

Inside two minutes, Milan Lalkovic ghosted in at the far post to glance a free header narrowly wide from Anthony Forde’s accurate cross.

Walsall were looking dangerous, with Jason Demetriou and Forde each having attempts blocked, and Lalkovic firing straight at visiting keeper Jake Kean.

On 11 minutes, captain Adam Chambers’ cut-back deflected favourably for Romaine Sawyers to lash a fierce first-time effort just over the bar.

Swindon’s first attempt came two minutes later, Michael Doughty with a tame header from Bradley Barry’s far-post centre which home stopper Neil Etheridge held comfortably.

The Robins – 2-1 winners in the November reverse fixture – gradually grew in stature and went close to scoring midway through the half.

Striker Nicky Ajose, the division’s leading marksman, was teed up by Jon Obika to fire a right-footed effort inches wide from 20 yards.

The visitors were now dominating possession and creating more chances, with Raphael Rossi-Branco shooting wildly over after Yaser Kasim’s goalbound strike was blocked.

Obkia, who scored against the Saddlers earlier in the season, then let fly with a crisp right-footed effort which Etheridge parried.

Swindon were on top and threatened again before the break, when Doughty’s menacing cross was turned wide by Ajose from close-range.

HALF-TIME: WALSALL 0-0 SWINDON

Luke Williams’ men continued to enjoy the better of proceedings at the start of the second period.

Obika made headway down the right, skipping past Matthew Pennington and cutting the ball back for Doughty, who side-footed disappointingly wide.

And Swindon – searching for their first win in nine - took the lead just before the hour mark.

The lively Obika’s shot deflected fortuitously into the path of Doughty, who calmly slotted through Etheridge’s legs from eight yards.

Walsall were struggling to fashion opportunities but came within a post’s width of finding an equaliser on 67 minutes.

Forde received possession from Sawyers 25 yards out and unleashed a thunderous right-footed drive which slammed against the foot of the post.

That proved Forde’s final involvement as he and Lalkovic made way for Morris and Tom Bradshaw in a double switch on 68 minutes.

And the change paid instant dividends as Walsall equalised just three minutes later.

Substitute Morris glided beyond two defenders and coolly placed a precise left-footed shot into the bottom corner from 18 yards.

It was a fine goal – the youngster’s second of the campaign.

The final 19 minutes passed almost without incident, although Swindon looked the more likely team to score a winning goal.

A minute from time, Obika beat the Saddlers’ offside trap but Paul Downing came across quickly to make a crucial, sliding block.

Ajose then fired straight at Etheridge in added time as honours finished even.

FULL-TIME: WALSALL 1-1 SWINDON

Team:
Etheridge, Demetriou (Kinsella 52’), Downing, Pennington, Henry, Chambers, Mantom, Forde (Morris 68’), Lalkovic (Bradshaw 68’), Sawyers, Hiwula.

Subs not used: MacGillivray, Taylor, O’Connor, Cook.

Attendance: 5,095 (297 Swindon supporters).

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