Battling display by Walsall...
THE SADDLERS stepped out on a murky night in Yorkshire determined to get back into winning ways and in doing so inflict Sheffield United’s first League defeat of the season.
The opening exchanges saw Karl Darlow do well to gather a low ball that was driven into the danger zone from the left.
It was unlucky 13th minute for Walsall when a poor backpass by Jamie Paterson saw Dave Kitson break into the area before being brought down by Dean Holden. As the last man, Holden had to go before Nick Blackman stepped up and stroked the spot-kick home.
In the aftermath of the goal, James Baxendale was sacrificed in place of Paul Downing who joined Andy Butler in the heart of the backline.
A poor backpass by the home side in the 23rd minute saw Will Grigg challenge Blades ‘keeper, George Long who got there first and left Grigg in need of treatment.
The Saddlers were frustrating the home side with some resolute play as goalscoring chances remained at a premium at either end.
Some good play out wide by Cuvelier saw him pull the ball back from the by-line to Grigg whose point-blank effort was superbly saved by teenager Long in the home goal. The resulting corner was cleared as the home side breathed a sigh of relief.
HALF-TIME: Sheffield United 1 Walsall 0
The early action of the second period saw Tony McMahon dip an effort just over from long range.
At the other end, a chance opened up for Grigg but he was just off target with his first-time effort.
The Saddlers continuing to battle well and play some decent football. A neat move saw Nicky Featherstone combine with Paterson whose long range effort landed in the grateful arms of Long.
There was a change on 64 minutes as Ashley Hemmings replaced Paterson.
With 20 minutes to go, substitute, Shaun Miller’s first action was to break the offside trap only for Karl Darlow to be alert to his attempted lob.
Walsall’s third and final change came on 77 minutes as George Bowerman replaced Will Grigg.
As the clock ticked down, The Saddlers continued to work hard for each other and frustrate The Blades but equally we found it difficult to create many opportunities to level the scores.
FULL-TIME: Sheffield United 1 Walsall 0
WALSALL: Darlow, Taundry, Butler, Holden, Featherstone, A. Chambers, Cuvelier, Grigg (Bowerman), Paterson (Hemmings), Baxendale (Downing), A. Taylor.