PORT VALE v WALSALL
BACKED by a large and vocal travelling contingent, The Saddlers started the 2014/15 season with a short trip to Port Vale.
It was the home side who started the most purposeful as they created a number of early chances, looking particularly threatening on their left.
The first real attempt for The Saddlers came just before the quarter-hour mark when Romaine Sawyers linked up with Ashley Grimes, one of three debutants in the starting line-up, but his effort was blocked by the home 'keeper.
The Valiants took the lead on 25 minutes when Mark Marshall's cross caused problems and Tom Pope was on hand to guide the ball home from close range.
With their tails up, Pope almost made it 2-0 in the next attack as he saw a half-volley flash just wide of the target.
There was an opportunity for Walsall when Carl Dickinson's poor ball out of defence fell to Grimes who advanced before firing over the bar.
The home attack posing a few questions of The Saddlers' back-line throughout the opening period. Marshall is looking a threat on the left and his cross found Louis Dodds who was inches wide with a deft effort as half-time approached.
It was 1-0 to the home side at the interval here.
The second period started with a couple of free-kicks in dangerous positions for the home side. The first defended by the defensive wall and the second dragged inches wide of the target by Michael O'Connor.
There followed a good spell by The Saddlers as we started to get into our stride. Some lively play inside the area by Grimes ended with his effort being tipped over.
The equaliser wasn't long in coming, though, as Sawyers and then Grimes provided the assist and Tom Bradshaw lifted the ball home for a debut goal to make it 1-1.
Billy Clifford came on for his debut with 20 minutes to go as he replaced James Baxendale.
A corner from Clifford was half-cleared as Adam Chambers teed up Andy Taylor for a long-range strike that was on target but pushed out by the 'keeper with 76 minutes on the clock.
There was a sweeping move from Walsall in the next attack that ended with Mal Benning arrowing a strike over from the angle.
The Saddlers were looking a threat as the clock ticked down with some neat play as we forced a couple of corners.
With five minutes to go, Amadou Bakayoko replaced Bradshaw.
The Saddlers finished strongly, but it ended in a 1-1 draw at Vale Park with honours even.