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Club News


29 November 2014

Eight points and JPT progress for The Saddlers...

THE MONTH got underway with a trip to in-form East Midlands' rivals, Notts County.

It was The Saddlers who started with real purpose and we deservedly took the lead when the ball went in via a deflection off Gary Jones after quarter-of-an-hour.

Our high-flying hosts were able to get back on level terms but we always looked the more likely side and got our reward when we were awarded our first penalty of the season.

Leading scorer, Tom Bradshaw, stepped up and confidently found the net to give us our first away win of the season and end County's unbeaten run.

Our attention then to turned to FA Cup matters as we were handed exactly the same draw as last year - a home tie with Shrewsbury Town.

With The Shrews flying high in League Two and full of confidence, it was always going to be a tricky tie and our visitors went ahead within the opening five minutes.

We kept battling away, though, and whilst we didn't hit the heights in terms of performance, former Shrew, Tom Bradshaw, bagged a deserved equaliser early in the second period.

It didn't take long for our Shropshire neighbours to get their noses back in front and as we entered stoppage time, it looked as though they had done enough to get through. That was until Paul Downing's effort was deflected into the net by that man, Bradshaw to make it 2-2 and force a replay.

Our Cup week continued with a Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area Quarter-Final tie with Sheffield United, which was screened live by Sky Sports.

We never looked in any real danger against The Blades, however, we only had one goal to show for it as Romaine Sawyers found the net ten minutes into the second half.

We managed to hold on to make deserved progress into the next round of the competition.

Our third home game in a week saw us return to League business with the visit of Peterborough United.

The Posh were struggling for form and found themselves under the cosh for long periods as Walsall played some neat football and created numerous chances.

In the end we were unable to convert any of the chances and had to settle for a point from a goalless draw.

We were back on FA Cup duty with our replay at Shrewsbury Town and it was an encounter that never really found a spark.

It was an evenly-matched tie which was decided with a second half sweet strike from Liam Lawrence.

There was a red card for skipper, Adam Chambers, late on which was rescinded on Appeal, but it was a disappointing night for The Saddlers as we slipped out of the competition at the first hurdle.

In contrast, we went to Fleetwood Town for our next game and put in an impressive display from start to finish to become the first side to beat them on home soil since February.

The Saddlers started the game brightly, playing some slick football on a good surface.

Our pressure was finally rewarded when Romaine Sawyers fired home on 35 minutes and we were unfortunate not to be able to add to the lead as the game went on.

By just holding a single-goal advanatage it meant that we had to endure a spell of pressure in the final ten minutes, but we defended resolutely to keep another clean sheet and bring home a very good three points.

The month ended with another away assignment, this time to Coventry City who were back at the Ricoh Arena.

On a difficult surface, we played some good football in the opening period and were unlucky not to find ourselves in front at the break.

Our hosts came into it more in the second half and Richard O'Donnell was forced to make a couple of smart saves as we secured another shut-out to mean that we had the best defensive record in League One.

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