Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Sunday March 7 2010
Millwall entered the playoff places yesterday after a day of mixed fortunes.
The Saddler`s went 2 up in the first half, before Millwall secured a draw following a Matthew Richards sending off.
The game began with a one minute silence for Walsall hero Tony Richards and Macclesfield boss Keith Alexander, who both passed away this week. The royal logistics corp were amongst several army regiments in attendance in the Help for Heroes campaign, including a military band who played before the game and at half time
The game started fairly evenly for the two sides, with both teams finding their feet.
It was on 11 minutes that the Saddlers went ahead. A fine long ball was sent in by Troy Deeney to the feet of Alex Nicholls, who could do nothing but skip past two Millwall defenders and put the ball into the back of net.
Some bright play from the Saddlers was seen throughout the first half, Steve Jones and Richard Taundry hooked up well to put life back into the Walsall side.
On 26 minutes Walsall doubled their lead. The ball came out of the area, following good work by Richards, O Keefe and Nicholls, to Richard Taundry. The midfielder made no mistake of blasting the ball into the goal from just inside the Millwall half.
Just 3 minutes later, a comedy error allowed Millwall to close the gap. Gilmartin failed to clear after a Vincent pass back and Steve Morison was merrily allowed to score in an open goal. Saddler supporters could not believe their eyes as the visitors celebrated.
On 36 minutes, Matthew Richards was involved in a tussle with Chris Hackett and received his first yellow of the game.
Walsall struggled to find their feet as the first half came to a close. They had a fright on 40 minutes, when a Tony Craig strike found itself going left of the post.
The Saddlers were glad of the half time whistle and the military band came on once again to entertain the fans.
Rhys Weston was replaced by Darryl Westlake after the break.
Millwall piled on the pressure onto Walsall, who worked hard to keep the game within their reach. On 57 minutes Clayton McDonald made a clearance off the line after a corner from Chris Hackett.
It was on 63 minutes that Matthew Richards left the pitch after receiving his 2nd yellow card. The defender was seen to trip Chris Hackett in his pursuit down the right.
Despite losing a man, Walsall remained tight. Millwall were arguably on top but the Saddlers remained strong enough to contain them. On 69 minutes, Clayton McDonald made another fantastic clearance off the line
On 76 minutes, Mark Hughes entered the field replacing Steve Jones. The 34 year old was clapped off after a pleasing performance.
The clock ticked down and a palpable tension filled the air. On 43 minutes, fresh legs were bought on with Darren Byfield replacing Alex Nicholls.
However, Saddler hearts were broken deep into injury time. Alex Dunne found the ball in a near identical position to Walsall`s 2nd goal, and sent the ball flying into the net. Walsall fans could only sit and face the realisation that every fan dreads. Losing the lead in injury time.
So, it was certainly a game to be remembered at the Banks`s and heart can be taken of the two goal lead, but Walsall must work harder to eradicate the silly goals they concede.
Date:Sunday March 7 2010
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