The latest action direct from a wet Banks's Stadium...THE SADDLERS returned to home action at a wet and grey Banks's Stadium. Having faced the team at the top of the table on Tuesday we now take on a Hartlepool United side who are bottom.
The first raid for Walsall on six minutes saw Febian Brandy drive forward only for his effort to be blocked then the follow-up from Sam Mantom was also scrambled clear.
An inviting cross from the right by Richard Taundry was met by a deft header from Brandy that crept the wrong side of the post.
It was a lively start by The Saddlers and with ten minutes on the clock, the lively Brandy fired just wide from distance.
Another cross from the right fell out to Jamie Paterson whose low, first-time strike flashed narrowly wide.
Paterson cut inside to make room from a strike from the left, but he was of target.
A short back-pass in the 28th minute saw Aaron McCarey bring down the visiting player to get himself a yellow card and concede a penalty which Evan Horwood fired home. It was Hartlepool's first foray forward and saw them take the lead.
A Walsall corner found its way over to Mantom who drilled the ball low back into the danger zone where it hit Dean Holden and almost found its way into the net as Scott Flinders made the save.
A sweeping move saw Brandy feed Taundry in space and his inviting cross was headed just wide by Brandy as The Saddlers continued to look the most likely side with The Pool just having the one attack.
Another pacy move, spearheaded by a pacy break from Brandy ended with Paterson's cross-cum-shot landing inches wide.
There was a real let-off for the visitors in stoppage time at the end of the half when another neat move ended with Brandy crossing low for Paterson whose powerful strike took a deflection which took it away from goal.
HALF-TIME: Walsall 0 Hartlepool United 1
A half-time change saw Ashley Hemmings replaced by new loan signing, Craig Westcarr.
The Saddlers back on level terms within minutes of the restart when Brandy's strike was pushed out and the ball hit Dean Holden and found its way into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
A cross by Westcarr almost brought an own goal.
On 74 minutes, Westcarr played in Paterson to his left and he cut inside before seeing his effort dip over the crossbar.
As the rain continued to fall it made for difficult conditions under foot.
With just under a quarter-of-an-hour to go, George Bowerman replaced Grigg.
There was a real chance for Brandy who weaved his way through only to pull his low effort wide of the target as The Pool breathed a sigh of relief.
A break through the middle by Brandy saw him go off in chase of a long ball forward, but Flinders was alert to clear outside his area.
A foul on Andy Butler gave Walsall a free-kick in a decent position in the 88th minute. Westcarr's effort took a deflection that sent it out for a corner which was played short and saw Mantom deliver a low ball that flashed across the face of goal with no-one on hand to get the vital touch.
There was a booking for Richard Taundry in stoppage time for pulling back a Hartlepool player as the game ended all square.
FULL-TIME: Walsall 1 Hartlepool United 1