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WALSALL v SHEFFIELD UNITED - LIVE BLOG

6 April 2013

All the latest from a sun-soaked Banks's Stadium...

THE SUN was shining to mark Walsall FC's 125th Birthday as a large and vocal crowd gathered for the visit of Sheffield United.

The Saddlers started with purpose and a neat move involving Febian Brandy, James Baxendale and Ben Purkiss ended with the latter crossing low to win a corner which was only half-cleared as far as Jamie Paterson who lifted the ball over the crossbar.

Some more tricky play from Brandy saw him combine with Baxendale on the by-line and his inviting ball into the danger zone had to be scrambled clear.

Walsall were seeing more of the early ball, although former Blade, Andy Taylor did well to cover in the 23rd minute as he denied Jamie Murphy.

Threats on goal few and far between for either side as the first half goes on.

A raid on the right by Baxendale saw his cross find Paterson whose effort was deflected wide and the as the resulting corner came out, Sam Mantom dragged his effort wide of the target.

Shortly afterwards, Baxendale, this time on the left, cut inside only to fire well over.

The Saddlers came within inches of taking the lead on 42 minutes as Brandy skipped through only to see his low strike shave the wrong side of the post.

The goal that we had been threatening came on 44 minutes when another neat move saw Mantom set Baxendale away on the right and his pull back found its way to Westcarr whose strike beat George Long in the United goal to make it 1-0.

It was a deserved goal for Walsall as we went into the break in front.

HALF-TIME: Walsall 1 Sheffield United 0

The visitors came out with purpose for the start of the second period as Kevin McDonald fired over in their first raid early on.

There was a great chance for The Saddlers on 47 minutes when Brandy was played through by Baxendale but he dragged his effort wide.

With our tails up, an excellent ball from Paterson carved open The Blades' rear-guard for Brandy to run on to and his powerful drive hit the side-netting as United held their breath.

After Andy Taylor and Andy Butler were brave to block from Murphy, the ball fell out to Matt Hill whose low shot skimmed narrowly wide of the target. It left Taylor in need of treatment and the former United manĀ  was forced to leave the field to be replaced by Mal Benning.

An intelligent ball from Westcarr played in Brandy who was met by Long and the young 'keeper deflected the ball wide.

United won a free-kick right on the edge of the area following a foul on Callum McFadzean. The defensive wall did its job to deny Chris Porter but within minutes the visitors were level when a low strike hit the post then hit the back on Sam Johnstone and bounced across the line where Porter was on hand to bundle home at the far post to make it 1-1.

The Saddlers hit back and a sweeping move ended with Brandy's curling effort pushed wide by the 'keeper.

In a pulsating contest, Jonathan Forte went close for The Blades who were starting to get the upper hand.

There was a booking for Brandy for diving with ten minutes to go.

A second change saw Baxendale replaced by Ashley Hemmings.

As the clock ticked down, Butler was booked for a foul as he and Paul Downing stood firm in the heart of the back-line.

There was a late chance for Romaine Sawyers who replaced Brandy in the final minute, but in the end it was honours even.

FULL-TIME: Walsall 1 Sheffield United 1

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