2015 - Walsall 0-0 Preston North End
On an apprehensive, nail-biting evening at the Banks’s in front of over 10,000 supporters, the Saddlers just needed to avoid defeat to book their place at Wembley for the first time in their 127-year history. Walsall held the advantage after beating Preston North End 2-0 at Deepdale in the first leg of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final.
It wasn’t going to be easy though, as Preston showed a never-say-die attitude for their 907 loyal away following and fought to the final whistle. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake hit the woodwork early on, while Walsall custodian Richard O’Donnell made a number of crucial saves to keep his side in the tie. Defender Paul Downing cleared the ball off the line after a flurry of shots bombarded the Walsall goal.
Walsall could have extended their aggregate lead just after the interval following good link-up play from forwards Anthony Forde, Romaine Sawyers and Tom Bradshaw. But it was their inspired defensive display that ensured the Saddlers secured their place at Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final.
Walsall Team: O’Donnell; O'Connor, Downing, J Chambers (Purkiss), Taylor; Cain, A Chambers; Forde, Sawyers, Cook (Baxendale); Bradshaw.
Other Walsall fixtures on this day...
1990 - Leyton Orient 1-1 Walsall - While ‘Tears on my Pillow’ by Kylie Minogue led the UK Top 40 chart, Walsall shared the spoils at Brisbane Road.
2001 - Cambridge 0-1 Walsall - Jorge Leitao’s 13th-minute strike was enough to separate the two sides and give the Saddlers a first away win since October.
2007 - Walsall 1-1 Boston United - League Two leaders Walsall picked up a hard-earned point against a physical Boston United side, when Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’ was top of the UK charts.
2009 - Swindon Town 3-2 Walsall - The Saddlers brought it back to 3-2 on 77 minutes after being 3-0 down. However, the Robins rose above the late pressure to win for the first time since Danny Wilson became manager.
Footballing events on this day...
2001 - Tranmere Rovers made the short journey across the River Mersey to dump neighbours Everton out of the FA Cup with a 3-0 triumph at Goodison Park.
2002 - Liverpool's Jamie Carragher was hit by a coin thrown from the crowd in an FA Cup tie against Arsenal at Highbury. He threw it back into the crowd for which he was red-carded followed by a police warning, £40,000 club fine and three-match FA ban.
2010 - Wayne Rooney's dramatic stoppage-time header sent Manchester United into the Carling Cup final with a 4-3 aggregate win over rivals Manchester City.
2013 - A double from Oldham striker Matt Smith sent the Latics into jubilation after a surprise 3-2 victory at Boundary Park against Liverpool in the FA Cup Fourth Round.