With Walsall and Peterborough United’s League One clash on the horizon, their re-acquaintance this weekend will struggle to measure up to the last time the Saddlers and Posh met in the third tier!
Only six months ago, a last-gasp victory in the closing stages of the 2016/17 campaign put the Saddlers within touching distance of the play-offs; a four-point deficit separating Walsall and sixth-placed Southend. However, facing competition from a host of promotion contenders in the race to secure a top-six finish, including Posh themselves, all was still to play for.
The two sides looked to be heading for a goalless draw as seven minutes of added time was indicated by the fourth official. ‘Controversial’ was the word on everyone’s lips post-match but not because of the lengthy wait for the final whistle.
Four minutes into the additional seven, Peterborough shot-stopper Luke McGee spilled Erhun Oztumer’s corner kick to break the deadlock, with McGee blaming the blunder on the presence of substitute Amadou Bakayoko, loitering at his near post. It didn’t end there, either. Chris Forrester’s afternoon went from bad to worse, having already denied his side the opener when inadvertently blocking Craig Mackail-Smith’s header on the goal-line, the skipper was given his marching orders for his objection to the decision of allowing the goal to stand. Forrester then disappeared down the tunnel at the Bescot Stadium with arms still aloft in disbelief.
Things only got worse for Peterborough following his departure. Three minutes later, with a spring in their step, Kieron Morris picked the pocket of Posh’s Anthony Grant inside the penalty area to see his effort from a difficult angle trickle over the line to make it 2-0 to the Saddlers.
And it wasn’t the first time the Saddlers had left it late to record a 2-0 victory over Posh. On the 28th December 2015, Jason Demetriou and George Evans struck in the 80th and 89th minute respectively on home soil to keep Walsall at the top of the table. A pattern emerging, perhaps…