Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Saturday October 16 2010
Walsall slogged it out for a deserved point today against Dagenham and Redbridge.
The players were boosted by rapturous Saddler fans as they were in full song throughout the 90 minutes, with a much increased attendance away from home. Very impressive by all concerned which made for an electric atmosphere.
A signature tentative start by Walsall made way for a Daggers lead on 26 minutes. However, Walsall came out in the second half a rejuvenated side and clawed their way back for a draw, with a fine strike by loanee Martin Devaney. A surprising heroic save by Brain late on and some gritty Saddler defending in the closing stages of the game saw both teams walk away with a point each.
Walsall found it hard to find their feet in their opening 45 minutes. Dagenham and Redbridge showed they were a force to be reckoned with, with some tight defending and looking dangerous on the attack.
A Walsall chance came to Devaney around minute 20 after some good work by Macken, but the shot was saved.
The Daggers got their goal on 26 minutes after a hard and low ball found Darren Currie in a good position who beat Jonny Brain to put it into the back of the net.
Walsall were lucky a short while after as Dagenham and Redbridge was awarded a free kick in a dangerous position but Danny Green put the ball over the bar.
Reuben Reid had a superb chance on minute 36 after being set up by Macken, but the disappointingly weak shot was easily saved.
Walsall kept themselves in the game with a few too many occasions of last ditch defending.
In the second half the Saddlers came out fighting, with more pace, guile and hunger for the ball.
It took them just minutes to get their equalizer. Macken set up Devaney on the right who made no mistake of giving the boisterous Saddler fans something to shout about.
Walsall played out the second half much tighter in dealing with Dagger attackers as well as being more clinical on the break themselves.
Gray was replaced by Jones on minute 69. The returning winger got another enthusiastic welcome by the Saddler faithful.
A good chance from Reid soon followed, but the shot saved.
It was on minute 78 that Brain pulled off a miraculous save. Danny Green beckoned and Saddler fans held their breath for a Daggers goal, but Brain caught the ball with his feet and hauled it to safety. Certainly making amends for his previous errors. Brain then pulled off a series of excellent saves in the closing stages.
Davies went down with a back injury and was replaced by Clayton McDonald on minute 79. Applause marked his exit after another strong performance from the newsboy.
The defence was overall much improved as the game neared it's end as an abundance of Dagger dangers beckoned.
Reuben Reid came agonizingly close deep into injury time, slipping past goalkeeper Tony Roberts, but the ball was cleared just before the ball crossed the line.
Another point for the Saddlers, now sitting back in the relegation zone in 22nd place, with our opponents sitting one place below. It would be good if the Saddlers performed all game as they did in the second half today and the crowd keeping up their fine voice. We welcome Tranmere to the Banks's stadium next Saturday.
Date:Saturday October 16 2010
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