Hartlepool 0 Walsall 0 - match report

Walsall had to settle for a point in a hard-fought encounter at an icy Victoria Park.

Dean Smith
Dean Smith

Dean Smith’s League One play-off chasers applied plenty of second-half pressure against a struggling Hartlepool side.

But the Saddlers could not force home keeper Scott Flinders into a meaningful save in a game of precious little goalmouth incident.

Walsall gave the hosts an early scare when a corner from Andy Taylor caught in the wind and forced keeper Scott Flinders to turn the ball nervously around his near post.

But Hartlepool threatened too when the ball dropped for Andy Monkhouse just inside the penalty area and his shot was blocked well by James Chambers on the edge of the six-yard box.

And there was a further close shave for Smith’s side when some half-soaked defending gave possession to Evan Horwood, whose 20-yard volley fizzed just wide.

Pools threatened again when Horwood galloped forward on the left and crossed for veteran forward Steve Howard, who leapt above Andy Butler but headed straight at loanee Sam Johnstone, making his debut in the Walsall goal.

On 26 minutes the home side attacked down the opposite flank through Neil Austin, whose cross found Antony Sweeney, but his header was kept out by a decent save from Johnstone.

But the Saddlers weathered that storm and began to grow in confidence as half-time approached with both Sam Mantom and Craig Westcarr trying their luck from distance.

Walsall took charge after half-time but they could not threaten the Hartlepool goal until the 65th minute through substitute Ashley Hemmings.

A minute after stepping off the bench, he collected a raking crossfield ball and drove towards goal before lashing a shot narrowly wide.

With time running out the Saddlers had a decent opening when Jamie Paterson intercepted a poor pass and raced towards the Hartlepool goal.

But, with substitute George Bowerman screaming for a pass, Paterson opted for a shot which was blocked.

The visitors compiled a decent move in stoppage time but it ended with Sam Mantom firing well over the bar.

By Steve Madeley

Comments for: "Hartlepool 0 Walsall 0 - match report"

black country supporters club

bad display really lads when its time to deliver we came up a bit short, where is the snot we need to go the extra bit to make the play offs and the players are better than league one

Swampy Saddler

Not being able to teams like HP to the sword, is a worry! Missed a great chance to get ourselves right up on the pack. . . . . . Not out of it by a long chalk, but will need something to go our way now. . . . . . Probably need to win 2 out of next 3 games and win the last 3 of the season. . . . UTS!!!!

Robbo

We have nothing to lose in our remaining games,let's give it a go and reward the loyal fans who have again stuck with you this season.see you at yeovil.

Graham

Agree with swampy, we needed to beat Hartlepool on Saturday because the next three are certainly tough and its worrying that Leyton orient are suddenly right there too.my own feeling would be a loss at Yeovil a draw against Coventry and Sheffield utd thus leaving us just a little too much to make up. I hope I am wrong as other teams above us have to play one another yet so fingers crossed. Uts.