Feels like a win! Tranmere Rovers 3-3 Walsall
It would be hard to encapsulate the roller-coaster ride that the Saddlers players and supporters experienced today but all concerned will be happy to leave Prenton Park will a well earned point.
By midway during of the second half it seemed Walsall were down and out and doomed to their third successive defeat. However, in the dying stages the Saddlers took charge over Rovers with goals from Macken and Butler to get a share of the points to the joy of the ecstatic Saddlers following.
The game started well for the Saddlers as they were lively and energetic. David Bevan served the visitors well in goal, handed his first start over Brain. 19 year old Jamie Paterson was also awarded his first start since September in place of Gray.
It was on 31st minute when the Saddlers took the lead. They were awarded a corner and the ball came out to Matthew Richards and he skilfully fired the ball into the back of the net. A long way to go but Walsall were ahead and now Richards's 6th of the season. 0-1.
However, in a cruel turn of events 9 minutes later, Richards scored again. Only, it was at the wrong end. The ball was failed to clear after Lateef Elford Alliyu put in a cross and, after confusion in the Walsall goal, the ball bounced off the midfielder's eye and into the net. Saddlers could hardly believe the setback. 1-1.
Walsall were left deflated by half time as Paul Marshall conceded a freekick in a dangerous position. Aaron Cresswell stepped up to take it and perfectly scored to give Tranmere the lead. 1-2.
The second half kicked off and the visiting crowd would be forgiven to think that Walsall were out of luck and this fear was compounded when Lateef Elford-Alliyu extended Rovers' lead on 56 minutes. Jennings crossed the ball, bouncing unfortunately over Ian Thomas Moore's foot to Alliyu, who put the ball past Bevan. 3-1.
As the second half played out, Walsall were trying to get anything out of the game, Tranmere a feisty side were keeping the battling Saddlers at bay.
But, in an extraordinary turn of events, Walsall managed to pull back two goals to snatch a point from home side as the game ticked away.
On 84 minutes, Richards was again on hand to pick up the ball and send a sweet cross to Jon Macken to the left of the goal who made no mistake of closing the deficit. 3-2 Walsall supporters went wild but the action was far from over.
Tranmere went into disarray as an rejuvenated and relentless Saddler side fought for an equaliser and, deep into stoppage time, their wish came true. Smith passed to Macken who sent the ball to Andy Butler who shot into the net. 3-3. The away end again went wild and the players celebrated as if they'd won a cup final. Truly unbelievable!
And that was it, what a game!
Tranmere were an organised side against an improved and lively Walsall. The visitors were unlucky when the score went to 1-1 as Richards bore the brunt of a lapse in concentration. As Dean Smith's reign gets underway, it seemed he was to succumb to a defeat that Walsall supporters are all to familiar but, out of nowhere and giving Walsall a huge boost, they managed to pull themselves out of a crushing defeat.
Bevan was very good and looked confident and assured in goal. Youngster Paterson all shone through as he pushes for more games and Richards as always showed his excellent vision for the game.
As we look toward to a cold Tuesday away game to Bristol Rovers, this game proves that the season is far from over and there is life in the Saddlers yet!
What did you think of the game? Comment in the forum!