On a blisteringly hot Easter Friday, Walsall faced the proverbial six-pointer against fellow strugglers, Southend United.
The home side had made some personnel changes following a run of defeats. The visitors, on the other hand, had a real musical look about them with an Elvis and a Lennon in their squad. A crowd of 4624, including 595 from Essex, turned up in nervous anticipation.
The Saddlers started on the front foot and pressed for a priceless opener; both Devlin and Edwards had good efforts on goal in the early stages.
Southend then took the game by the scruff of the neck and Dunn, in the home goal, was called into action on a couple of occasions to make important stops. A goal was coming……
GOAL! In the 43rd minute, Walsall made a mistake at the back and Cox nipped in to tuck the ball home.
What a hammer blow! The Saddlers needed a big response in the second half or else the unthinkable was on the cards.
The second period started with Walsall creating chances. Firstly Cook and then Blackett-Taylor went close but we just couldn’t quite find the precious equaliser.
Walsall brought on reinforcements in the shape of Oteh for Blackett-Taylor and then Norman for Ismail as the clock ticked down. It looked like another defeat and relegation for the Saddlers, then…..
GOAL! In the 94th minute, Walsall fired a last desperate ball into Southend’s box and Oteh, who had looked lively since coming on, was hauled down.
He then calmly smashed home the spot-kick to send the home crowd delirious and possibly rescue Walsall’s season. What drama!
This result keeps us within touching distance of the clubs just above us, including Southend. With 3 games left to play – Wycombe, Peterborough and Shrewsbury – it’s still all to play for.