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16:57 23rd April 2011

Owls earn Saddlers point

Sheffield Wednesday gained a point from their trip to Walsall, drawing 1-1 at the Bescot Stadium.

Jon Macken put the League 1 strugglers in front inside the first ten minutes but Neil Mellor equalised for the Owls midway through the first half.

Walsall made a strong start to the clash but from then on, the Owls looked the more likely to win the match - having largely controlled proceedings after the break.

The point gained for the Saddlers incidentally, was not enough to lift them out of the relegation zone.

The Owls made one change from the 2-0 win over Hartlepool with Giles Coke starting in place of Jermaine Johnson and it was the midfielder who had the first sight of goal.

Walsall v Wednesday

James O'Connor played the ball into Coke, who took one touch to set himself and brought a smart save from Walsall keeper James Walker inside two minutes.

It was a lively and eventful opening to the match and Richard O'Donnell at the other end was called into action moments later, making an acrobatic save from Marc Laird's fierce drive.

Walsall then came close through their captain Andy Butler, who connected well with his header from a corner but his effort was deflected wide of the target.

The breakthrough did eventually come on nine minutes with Macken on target for the home side.

Richard Taundry's cushioned header back into the danger zone fell nicely for the former Barnsley striker to blast into the bottom corner from close range.

Laird came close to doubling Walsall's lead with a superb effort from 25 yards which dipped just over the crossbar before Wednesday levelled up the contest.

Lewis Buxton had time and space to line up a ferocious effort from outside the area on the left which Walker could only parry across goal and Mellor was on hand with a clever finish to restore parity.

Walsall v Wednesday

It was entertaining match for the spectators at the Bescot Stadium with both sides playing at a high tempo.

Saddlers striker Jordan Cook had a good chance to put his side back into the lead but shot wide from inside the 18-yard box.

Wednesday had one more chance before the break as Gary Teale's dangerous ball into the box picked out Gary Madine, whose header was comfortably saved by Walker.

Wednesday made a bright start to the second half as Madine again went close with a header from a Teale free kick which dropped just wide.

Walsall desperately needed the points to climb out of the drop zone but it was Wednesday who looked more likely to edge in front after the break.

Ten minutes after the restart, Buxton's weaving run down the left created an opening for the defender to shoot but Walker was down quickly to push wide for a corner.

A quick break from Walsall almost saw Dean Smith's men regain their advantage with Macken again at the heart of the attack.

Matt Richards broke quickly down the centre and swept the ball out wide to Taundry who found Macken with a clever cutback but the striker's effort flew inches wide of the target.

Another Teale set piece almost unlocked Walsall's defence as his delivery from deep picked out Madine but the striker's downward header bounced over the bar.

Walsall v Wednesday

With five minutes left on the clock, O'Donnell made a comfortable stop from Richards just outside the 18-yard box.

The Owls were no doubt the stronger side after the break but 1-1 was how it finished as Wednesday now look towards the clash with Swindon at Hillsborough on Monday.

Walsall: Walker, Westlake (Byfield 75), Lancashire, Richards, Macken, Taundry, Gray, Laird, Cook (Nicholls 85), Williams, Butler

Unused substitutes: Bevan, Smith, Paterson, Grigg, Gbarssin

Owls: O'Donnell, Otsemobor, Batth, R Jones (R Johnson 80), Buxton, Teale, O'Connor, Miller, Coke (J Johnson 46), Mellor, Madine

Unused substitutes: Weaver, D Jones, Potter, Sedgwick, C Morrison

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.