Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Wednesday April 27 2011
Saddlers left Boundary Park after they got a share of the points against the Lactics, in the same 1-1 result as Saturday's home match with Sheffield Wednesday.
The game saw Richard Taundry occupy the right back position as Westlake dropped to the bench with Grigg partnering Macken up front, chosen over Darren Byfield.
Saddlers had a few quality chances throughout the game. Walsall went ahead through a surreal Tom Williams goals. Oldham were reduced to ten men on 70 minutes after Felipe Morais was sent off, but a late Jason Lowe strike broke Saddler prospects of all 3 points.
The game began with a healthy a vocal Saddler crowd making the 86 mile journey north to support the team.
The game started poorly for both teams, but Walsall being the marginal better side.
Gray did well early on as Oldham passed around. Shortly after, the Lactics celebrated a goal that was quickly ruled offside, thank god!
The Lactics keeper was called to action as he parried the ball away from a Macken shot, set up by a lively Jordan Cook.
The game was plodding along nicely but neither team doing much to set it alight. When the game paused to treat an Oldham injury, the Saddler players were frantically chatting and discussing the way forward.
Butler gave away a free kick and a serious danger was posed to the Saddlers by the home side. Felipe Morais took but thankfully the ball went wide.
Richard Taundry put the ball wide at the other end after a Richards cross. The 22 year old lively and enthusiastic but unfortunately it makes him a liability at times.
Gray then had a great chance as he picked the ball up on the left of the goal from Jon Macken, but no one was there at the goal mouth as he crossed the ball to put it away. A sterling chance wasted for the desperate Saddlers!
Jordan Cook then had a good chance after some passing around between Richards, Grigg, Laird and Williams, but the final shot was disappointingly easily caught by the the Lactics keeper.
The half time whistle sounded and it was all even. Frustrating as Walsall could have easily been on top if there was just a tad more bite and pace in their play.
As the second half opened there was a touch of controversy as Macken was denied a penalty after he was brought down. Just our luck, Manager Dean Smith was left fuming.
Oldham had two good chances to score themselves but blew both chances. The first came right at the beginning when Morais slammed the ball onto the roof of the stand from a free kick. Gray then gave away a free kick in a golden chance for Oldham to make it one nil. However, true to form Walker pulled out a fine and confident save.
Shortly after, Oldham pounced again and it was truly a goal mouth scramble. Walker lost the ball and it bounced nervingly around the Walsall box, smacking the post and was eventually put inches wide by the hosts. A lucky let off for the Saddlers.
Walsall got back into the game and put in some play but nothing of real note.
On minute 58 Walsall took the lead. They won a free kick to the right of goal. Williams stepped up, instead of the usual Richards, and the ball sailed straight into the net. It was a surreal, bizarre moment and the away end exploded with delight as the Saddlers congratulated the defender's first goal for club. Excellent 0-1. Overall deserved and things were looking positive.
The game went further in the Saddler's favour as Oldham were reduced to ten men. Morais was adjudged to have taken Jordan Cook out with two feet and was given his marching orders. Somewhat harsh on the homeside but who cares?! Walsall were edging closer to victory.
The game continued and Cook made his exit and was replaced by Paterson.
Laird was booked for a challenge on 80 minutes.
Macken then made way for Darren Byfield.
As the game neared its end and Walsall were within touching distance of 3 points, Jason Lowe got a goal for the hosts with a sweet strike. Saddler defenders failed to get a handle on some good Oldham work in the box, which led to the ball falling to the midfielder on loan from Blackburn and he made no mistake. 1-1. Gutted.
Five minutes was added but neither team could clinch the winner and the game was over.
Walsall are making it hard work as they march on to safety. Thanks to other results of the teams around Walsall, they now sit outside the relegation zone in 20th place, teetering on the edge of escaping league two next season. No points over easter would have sent them 22nd but 6 points would have kept them in the same position, equal on points with Notts County but with a inferior goal difference.
So it's onwards to Charlton at home on Saturday. The end is so near and yet so far, only a week and half until the season's climax which is set to tell the end of the story.
Do you think Walsall is going to escape?
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Date:Wednesday April 27 2011
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