Preston North End 0-2 Walsall - Report
07/01/2015 - 19:45
The Saddlers took a huge step towards a maiden Wembley appearance with two late goals to cap a perfect away performance at Deepdale.
We came out of the blocks quite brightly, but we were indebted to Richard O`Donnell for twice thwarting Jermaine Beckford, the first time producing a truly world class save after the Walsall defence had given Beckford the freedom of the six yard box to plant a free header wherever he wanted. Somehow O`Donnell kept it out with a save as good as anything you`ll see at any level all season, it really was that good. A few minutes later he was at it again, palming over another free header from Beckford, with the striker probably feeling he should have done better.
The Saddlers, backed by a large vocal away support, hit back with an Andy Taylor free kick that hit the base of the post, and Michael Cain stung the Preston keepers palms right on half time with a fierce 25 yarder.
The second half was much more even, and the game seemed destined to end goalless. Cain again went close, while the home side saw a free kick land on the top the net.
However, with seven minutes to go the tables turned in our favour dramatically. A miscued clearance from Stuckmann in the Preston goal saw Sawyers charge forward before being unceremoniously hauled down by Neil Kilkenny.
Antony Forde stepped up to place the free kick around the wall and into the bottom corner, leaving Stuckmann stuck to the spot. And four minutes later the Saddlers were in dreamland when a foolish back pass from Wiseman was latched onto by Tom Bradshaw, who calmly slotted the ball between the keepers legs and put the Saddlers well on the way to Wembley.
It`s not all over yet though, so get down to the Banks`s in four weeks time and let`s get the job done.