SHEFFIELD UNITED v WALSALL
THE SADDLERS were back on the road for this pre-Christmas trip to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United.
It was a rather cagey opening to this game with neither 'keeper seriously tested in the opening quarter. There was a towering header from Jamie Murphy that sailed just over following a Ryan Flynn cross after a couple of efforts from Michael Cain and Tom Bradshaw had been blocked at the other end.
There was some good covering from James Chambers to block from Ryan Flynn as he twisted and turned inside the area to get in a strike.
Walsall won a free-kick in a promising position after Jordan Cook was brought down but the United defensive wall was on hand to block.
As half-time approached, we had a change of referee, but as for the game, it was one of few chances for either team.
There was time for the home side to rattle the crossbar in stoppage time as Stefan Scougall hit an effort from distance that took a deflection on its way. That was to be as close as we got to a goal in the opening period.
There was an appeal at half-time for a qualified referee to take over as fourth official for the second period, with Richard Akers stepping forward to fill the role.
It was The Blades who started the second period with their tails up and a low cross into the danger zone was deflected inches wide of his own goal by Adam Chambers.
The home side took the lead when Chris O'Grady was played through and he stayed calm to slot home on 56 minutes.
In the wake of the goal, James Baxendale was replaced by Anthony Forde.
Walsall were back on level terms on the hour when our first raid of the half saw Cook cross invitingly for Tom Bradshaw and the in-form goal-getter made no mistake to plant the ball home.
It was The Saddlers' turn to pose a couple of questions as Cook's teasing ball into the area was sliced just wide of his own goal by Bob Harris.
Harris's contribution at the other end came soon afterwards when his powerful drive from distance hit the roof of the net.
A pacy break from Bradshaw ended with him just dragging his effort wide of the target.
Some neat play on the edge of the area ended with Romaine Sawyers placing his effort just over.
There was a further change for Walsall as Mal Benning replaced Cook on 77 minutes.
For The Blades, Flo Cuvelier came on and also turned the ball home with his first touch, whilst United had to scramble clear at the other end to deny Bradshaw.
The Saddlers had to defend resolutely into stoppage time as our hosts pushed for a winner.
In the end it finished honours even at 1-1.