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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:40 26th November 2013

Blades 1-1 Walsall - report

Chris Porter netted his third goal in four games as the Blades picked up a point in Tuesday's home clash with Walsall.


The big striker netted with a penalty in first half injury-time but Walsall levelled early in the second half through Craig Westcarr.


In a hard-working performance, the Blades were the more offensive outfit but had to settle for a point.


Hill and Miller returned to the starting line-up for the SkyBet League One encounter. Experienced Hill came in for the suspended Maguire and slotted straight in alongside Collins in central defence, whilst Miller took the place of Lyle Taylor, who dropped to the bench. For Walsall, ex Blades left-back Andy Taylor started and former United Academy defender Purkiss was amongst the substitutes.


Despite a slow start, the Blades were the more adventurous in the opening 20 minutes. Coady and Lappin delivered teasing crosses and the first serious chance, on 16 minutes, saw Coady's flicked header from Lappin's corner kicked off the line by Butler.


With both sides battling for midfield supremacy, opportunities were limited at both ends. Walsall had to wait until the 36th minute before registering their first chances - a run and shot from Baxendale - whilst for the Blades, Coady let fly with 30-yarder which was just wide.


The game came to life close to half-time and White was heavily involved. The loan defender's back header to Long was short but he was helped out by the Blades goalkeeper, who clawed away Lalkovic's chip.


The major talking point of the half followed, on 40 minutes. Porter and Miller combined before White was released down the left and he appeared to be brought down by Lalkovic, in front of the Saddlers fans. No penalty was forthcoming and referee Sarginson indicated that the Walsall man had got the ball, which, incidentally, did not deviate and rolled out for a goal-kick.


The official ignored the home side's protests but the Bramall Lane faithful had to wait just five more minutes before a penalty was forthcoming. On this occasion, close to the end of one minute of injury-time, McMahon's deep cross struck the arm of James Chambers.


This time it was Walsall's turn to have their claims dismissed and PORTER waited patiently before slamming home the spot-kick, seconds ahead of the half-time whistle.


The lead, however, was short-lived as Walsall levelled with little over a minute gone in the second half. Attacking down the visiting side's right, Baxendale got the better of White and his cross at pace was met by WESTCARR's powerful header, which flew past Long.


United attempted to hit back immediately with a Miller lash, following Porter's flick, and there were at least three shouts for further penalties in the space of five minutes ahead of Baxter replacing Miller just after the hour.


A curling Coady cross caused a moment of nervousness for goalkeeper O'Donnell but as the half wore on the visitors looked the more comfortable in possession - a rasping shot from Hemmings deflected off Lappin and was clawed away by Long and then substitute Sawyers then produced a neat touch but McGinn cleared.


With 12 minutes left Lappin limped off, replaced by Murphy, whilst Clough's last change was to bring on Taylor for Porter, who received a warm reception from home fans.


In the final ten minutes, from McMahon's cross, Taylor's flicked header rolled agonisingly wide and then a long-range effort from Baxter was deflected to help O'Donnell make a save.


Four minutes of added time saw Taylor flick a McGinn corner wide but the Blades were unable to force another injury-time goal and had to settle for a point.


Blades: Long, White, Hill, Doyle, Porter (L. Taylor 81), Miller (Baxter 61), McGinn, Collins, Coady, Lappin (Murphy 78), McMahon.
Unused: Howard, Cuvelier, King, McGinty.


Walsall: O'Donnell, A. Taylor, Butler, Featherstone (Hewitt 86), A. Chambers, Mantom, Lalkovic (Hemmings 64), Westcarr, Downing, J. Chambers, Baxendale (Sawyers 76).
Unused: Purkiss, Lewis, Benning, Gray.