Tom Marshall's match report...Tangerines leave a sour taste
A tasty affair awaits us here at the Banks’s Stadium as the Seasiders pay a visit to the Blackcountry in search of a 2nd successive win to help them climb away from the league one trap door. Sean O’Driscoll’s men however hope to add to an unbeaten run of 3 weeks to help them regain the third tiers top spot, Providing Burton slip up at home to Shrewsbury this afternoon.
3:00 swiftly arrives and its Walsall to kick the game off but Blackpool will be the ones attacking in the direction of the Midlands renowned tile choice stand.
A lively opening minute saw ex Wolves man Anthony Forde chopped down on the edge of the box. Andy Taylor then whipped in a ball superbly with his trusty left foot but was cleared by Blackpool centre half Tom Aldred.
Anthony Forde again involved with play on 6minutes as he delivered a deep cross towards the back post which Hayden White swung a leg at and ricocheted towards his own goal luckily Colin Doyle was alert and brought it to safety.
Mark Yeates on the left side for Blackpool had an opportunity to cut inside in which he did and struck one towards goal but it wasn’t troubling the Philippines international Neil Etheridge in the saddler’s goal.
Then came a surging run from Hayden White who managed to cover the whole pitch with the ball at his feet in a matter of seconds he put through a near perfect through ball to Redshaw who volleyed it first time towards the roof of the net but Etheridge was at hand again to palm it to safety.
The 26 minute mark saw Walsall pass the ball around like Barcelona for roughly 5 minutes they worked it into the box on numerous occasions but a well organised Backline made sure no shots were struck at goal however there were a few notable Hollywood passes from Romaine sawyers proving why he’s keen on teams minds this transfer window.
2minutes later Demetriou covered 20 yards in the blink of an eye to stop the ball going out of play pulled off a spectacular move by lifting his leg above his head and turned and managed to get the cross in which lead to nothing but a much livelier spell from Walsall on the half hour mark.
Tom Bradshaw then dribbled into the box which saw a coming together between himself and Tom Aldred in which Bradshaw fell to the floor, Despite the appeals of the players and supporters the referee Whitestone was certain it wasn’t to be and he waved play on with 4minutes until the break.
As half time approaches Anthony Forde again in the spotlight as he whipped in a cross on the edge of the box in which Andy Taylor went for the “if you don’t buy a ticket you don’t win the raffle” approach with a sweetly struck volley which fell just short of the post.
After a lively first half it’s all square at the break. Halftime 0-0
Blackpool will be the team to kick off the 2nd half after a very entertaining first period there should be alot left up the sleeve of both outfits for the half that lies ahead.
Rico Henry set the 2nd half alight with a teasing run down the left flank carving open the Blackpool midfield before Tom Aldred came in with a ferocious challenge which again leads to a wasted freekick opportunity for the Saddlers.
2minutes later Forde then tried his luck with a clean struck finesse shot that drilled just above the surface but it wasn’t to beat a goalkeeper with Europa league experience from Doyle’s Birmingham days, The deadlock is still yet to be broken as just under 40minutes remain.
Forde again involved when he found some space on the right wing as he lashed a shot at the target but once again Doyle pulled out a terrific camera save to keep the Lancashire boys on even terms with boxing days league leaders.
Then following a midfield scramble the ball was cannoned through a field of bodies towards the back post which saw Jason Demetriou creeping in to the box in a poacher’s role to stab the ball home!! Goal!! 1-0 Walsall
A goal from a full back is no rarity at the Banks’s this season with Henry, Demetriou, Taylor and Kinsella all involved in the goalmouth this season the depth in the attacking options must be hugely pleasing for O’Driscoll.
Blackpool came with a response after 72minutes as they charged up the field and new Watford loanee Uche Ikpeazu hammered an effort towards the near post which Etheridge pulled out a smart save to keep the men in red infront.
Only 8 minutes now left on the clock and the game remains a midfield battle as the ball has spent the majority of the 2nd half in the centre circle, but as both teams battle to retain possession it was notably Walsall that were catching the eye and looking to grab a second but the chance was squandered and Aimson in centre back for the tangerines hoofed the ball up the field into a dangerous area which saw a piece of individual brilliance from Neil Etheridge who came out of his goal to head the ball clear.
The fourth official then indicated there was to be 5minutes added time and that Jason Demetriou was the Walsall sponsors man of the match but with the clock still ticking a clever through ball from Brad Potts pierced the Walsall defence and the attacking line was free to run through on goal before Philliskirk was speared off the ball by Paul Downing who received a yellow card for bringing the man down on the edge of the box.
New signing Ikpeazu lines up the free kick from 20 yards and the man that grabbed 6 league goals for Port vale already this season looks set to belt one. He unleashed a powerful strike which took a huge deflection off the wall and the ball fell right to the feet on Philliskirk 4 yards out who calmly slotted it home sending the 352 travelling fans jubilant, Goal!!!! The former Oldham man adds to his tally making it 2 goals in his first 3 appearances for the Seasiders and Whitestone then blew his whistle and pulled the plug on an emphatic encounter.
Full time Walsall 1-1 Blackpool
O’Driscoll later added that he thought the team played remarkably well and he wasn’t to disappointed that they only took a point away from the game “that’s football” he also added that Blackpool are a strong side that defend in their numbers and make it difficult for the opposing teams “they will cause problems for the other teams they play this season”. Its fair to say it was an even game as both team had chances but the late goal must leave a sour taste in Sean O’Driscolls mouth.