SADDLERS EARN A POINT
THE SADDLERS stepped out at Brisbane Road determined to be the first team to take points off Leyton Orient this season.
There was some early pressure from the hosts with a couple of corners that were repelled.
At the other end, some hesitation in defence almost let in Milan Lalkovic, who was back in the starting line-up.
A teasing cross from Andy Taylor forced a corner to Walsall in the sixth minute. Header from Andy Butler just landed wide.
A cross from Lloyd James on the quarter-hour found David Mooney whose effort was deflected just wide.
Some tricky play by Lalkovic on the left saw him whip the ball over but it just evaded the head of Craig Westcarr.
Straight red card for Butler for a foul on Romain Vincelot out wide. It prompted Ben Purkiss to come on for Nicky Featherstone as James Chambers moved into the heart of the back-line.
The Saddlers continued to work hard and keep a good shape as the half went on.
The home side took the lead when a ball in from the right was palmed away by O’Donnell under pressure from Kevin Lisbie and the ball fell to David Mooney who fired home with a low strike.
With their tails up, O’Donnell did well to block from Lisbie.
Series of corners for Walsall towards the end of the half defended by The O’s.
HALF-TIME: Leyton Orient 1 Walsall 0
Good move by Walsall ended with a teasing ball into the danger zone from Lalkovic which almost saw Paul Downing profit.
At the other end, Dean Cox hit low strike from tight angle which O’Donnell saved well.
The ‘keeper was then alert to gather at the feet of Mooney.
The Saddlers still looking a threat on the break without working Jamie Jones in The O’s goal too much.
There was a change as James Baxendale replaced Lalkovic.
The equaliser that Walsall had been threatening came when a deep cross from the left was headed back by Troy Hewitt into the path of Westcarr who found the net from close range to make it 1-1.
Excellent save from O’Donnell denied the home side.
Westcarr corner caused problems as the home side managed to avert the danger as Baxendale lurked with intent.
A chance for Walsall to break after Mantom did well in midfield but Westcarr’s pass for Hewitt just over-hit.
Blow for The Saddlers late on as James Chambers forced off through injury with Mal Benning taking his place.
A melee from a corner saw O’Donnell touch ball onto crossbar as ball scrambled clear.
Free-kick from Mantom hit from distance but gathered by the ‘keeper.
Second yellow card for Vincelot for a foul on Westcarr saw home side down to ten men right at the death.
Foul by Adam Chambers earned him a booking as it all got a bit frantic late on.
In the end, The Saddlers worked hard to get a deserved point and put in a spirited, organised and professional display.
FULL-TIME: Leyton Orient 1 Walsall 1