MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Blackpool 1×
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MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Blackpool 1
 
MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Blackpool 1
MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Blackpool 1
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MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Blackpool 1

7:14 pm Saturday, 23 January 2016
Earlier today, Walsall played host to Blackpool in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. Pete Sadler was in attendance, and you can read his match report below.
Earlier today, Walsall played host to Blackpool in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. Pete Sadler was in attendance, and you can read his match report below.

After a nail-biting second half against Bury last time out the Saddlers returned home for the visit of Neil McDonald's Blackpool. Arguably this would be the easiest fixture of the last three, with Walsall having won the last two away from home versus Brentford and Bury respectively. In saying that Blackpool have had a recent upturn in form culminating in a 5-0 drubbing of Oldham last weekend.

The Saddlers fielded the same starting line-up as last time out; Rico Henry starting on the left in front of Andy Taylor and Anthony Forde on the right, Romaine Sawyers in an advanced position just behind Tom Bradshaw.

From the off Walsall looked to press their visitors and Forde threatened down the right flank early on and was scythed down by the opposition full back. Despite protests from the Saddlers bench the referee kept his cards in his pocket...for now. The resulting set piece lead to nothing, perhaps unsurprisingly given the stature of the Blackpool defenders compared to the home side's players.

Blackpool began to grow into the game shortly after and I would suggest they were the better side for most of the first period, however even this early The Seasiders took every opportunity to slow down the game and steal yards from free-kicks and/or throw ins. The referee turned a blind eye to this it would appear. From an attack from the home side which broke down the Tangerines countered quickly and Jack Redshaw found himself inside the area one-on-one with Neil Etheridge but the Walsall stopper did well to save high to his left. A massive let off.

Not content with allowing the football to flow however, the referee was back in the fore. Mr Dean Whitestone took centre stage. He did not ignore the handball by David Norris of Blackpool after approximately 20 minutes and, as if to even it up, Adam Chambers for the Saddlers roughly 15 minutes later. The latter was arguably being fouled at the time when he scooped up the ball but Norris had no such excuse. The stall for booking had been set.

Whilst the Saddlers toiled to create a clear cut opportunity of their own Brad Potts of the opposition ventured through the midfield with purpose and unleashed a tame effort goal-wards, shades of George Evans which Walsall appear to now be missing.

As half time approached it was the home side who were luckier to remain on parity, a distant memory of a bank holiday weekend in August earlier in the season in the sun in the reverse fixture, where the Seasiders looked a shambles and the Saddlers showed early promise of a good campaign. Still time for another booking however, this time for Andy Taylor.

SKY BET LEAGUE 1 | HALF TIME
WALSALL 0 BLACKPOOL 0

From a home side perspective the second half started much better as an urgency to get a goal was introduced. Forde had a shot saved from an effort just outside the box after good interplay to the right of centre involving Bradshaw and Sawyers.

Irishman Forde was again at the centre of the action on the hour mark as he unleashed a pile driver across the goal of Colin Doyle which was goal bound but for his compatriot's fine save.

Blackpool introduced Uche Ikpeazu for Mark Yates on 65 minutes it was clear that the visitors would be going more direct, with the replacement a real handful the last time he visited the Bescot with Crewe earlier this term. It was the Saddlers that had the next big chance however as Bradshaw had a free header inside the six yard box which was saved well down low to the right by Doyle. The former Blues stopper showing great agility for a big man, making a number of important saves.

When I was beginning to wonder if we could be playing until next season until we scored the deadlock was broken, maybe fortuitously! An Andy Taylor speculative effort from the left was mis-hit and found it's way across the box where Jason Demetriou ghosted in from the right to smash home. 1-0 to the Saddlers on 66 minutes.

The next goal was always going to be key. As a result of the home side scoring the time wasting stopped and Ikpeazu was very much the focal point of the attacks, however he was well crowded out by the back four in the majority. A nasty clash of heads involving the on-loan Watford striker and Taylor lead to a delay in the game but ultimately still didn't curtail the big striker's afternoon.

In the final ten minutes of the game a raft of substitutions from the Saddlers saw Bradshaw replaced by Milan Lalkovic, Sawyers replaced by Kieron Morris and Henry by Matt Preston; the home side looking to shut-up shop and steal the win.

It was the Saddlers however that will rue their failure to keep hold of the ball and/or be more adventurous in their possession of the ball as inevitably the visitors grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time. As the ball was poked through into the path of the onrushing Ikpeazu, Paul Downing had little choice but to bring him down, escaping arguably fortunately with only a yellow card. From the resulting free-kick just outside the box Ikpeazu hit the wall but from the rebound it was struck goalwards again by Blackpool and turned home by Danny Philliskirk.

Very much a case of two points dropped but on reflection a loss would have been a tough result for the Tangerines. It could have been a lot worse but other results in the division have been favourable for our plight for promotion.

I would have to say that having been to Blackpool in August the difference in the team we faced today is massive. The value of a couple of new players in the transfer window has had a positive impact on the results for Blackpool and I can only hope that the Saddlers are looking to do some business also.

Onwards and upwards as next up is Fleetwood on Tuesday in the league which is our game in hand and a massive chance to get back on track at a struggling side. Keep the faith. UTS

BY | PETE SADLER - @Pistol_PeteS9

SKY BET LEAGUE 1 | RESULT
WALSALL 1 BLACKPOOL 1
GOAL | Demetriou (66') -- Philliskirk (90+5')
ATTENDANCE | 5,022 (352 Blackpool)
REFEREE | Mr. Dean Whitestone | Northamptonshire


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