Comment: Walsall show steel to grab an impressive point

Performances like this can go a long way and you sense Walsall’s draw at Bradford City could have a fair amount of significance.

Jack Earing in action at Bradford
Jack Earing in action at Bradford

In the grand scheme of things, it is only a point and there remains a whole lot of football to be played over this League Two season.

But the sheer commitment and dedication shown at Valley Parade should stand Matt Taylor’s side in good stead.

There was a lot to like about this display.

Supporters want to see passion and fight, and the Saddlers put in a hell of an effort to get a result on Saturday.

When skipper Joss Labadie was sent off just before half-time with the score at 1-1, this new-look Walsall side could have caved.

After all, this is the same team which slumped to a dismal defeat at Hartlepool a couple of weeks ago.

But they dug in deep, chased every ball down with intent and, ultimately, got what they deserved.

Bradford, naturally, had the lion’s share of possession and a few chances in the second half.

They never really carved Walsall open, though.

Despite being urged on by more than 15,000 fans, the hosts were kept at arm’s length and left frustrated at the final whistle.

The 490 Saddlers followers, conversely, had plenty to smile about.

A draw at Bradford is a respectable result at any time.

Add in that the Bantams are among the favourites for promotion this campaign and Walsall were a man down from the 43rd minute onwards, this one feels more like a win.

Everyone played their part. Liam Kinsella would run through a brick wall for the Saddlers.

Rollin Menayese and Manny Monthe were superb at the back, and Jack Earing was immense in midfield.

Manny Monthe caught the eye

Earing cancelled out Elliot Watt’s opener with a clever first-time finish, getting on the end of Brendan Kiernan’s deft delivery.

That was his first Walsall goal and this, make no mistake, was his best Walsall display.

Having dropped deep in the wake of Labadie’s dismissal, he gave every ounce of energy he could.

The red card, coming straight after Earing’s goal, happened in the blink of an eye.

Labadie did get the ball before the man but, crucially, he did get the man, catching Gareth Evans with his studs on the follow-through.

Referee Ben Toner acted swiftly and the captain would later apologise on social media.

He is set to miss the next three games and the Saddlers have been dealt another sizeable blow in the form of a hamstring injury to Conor Wilkinson.

Walsall, though, are two unbeaten and appear to be heading in the right direction.

And they can certainly reflect on an excellent day’s work in West Yorkshire.

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