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17:05 26th December 2011

Late double blow stuns Owls

A late double blow for the Owls saw Walsall win all three points with a 2-1 win at the Banks's Stadium on Boxing Day.

Ryan Lowe had put the Owls ahead on the hour mark with a well-taken header from a Chris Lines centre.

But Substitute Claude Gnakpa snatched a late equaliser with his strike from outside the area taking a deflection before nestling into the far corner.

And the dramatic comeback was complete in stoppage time when Manny Smith stabbed into the top corner to steal all three points at the death for the Saddlers.

Wednesday made two changes for the game in the Midlands with Richard O'Donnell and Ryan Lowe handed places in the starting line-up.

There was a good early tempo about the festive fixture with both sides looking lively in the final third albeit without either goalkeeper being called into action.

At the midway point in the first half, neither side had managed to stamp any real authority on the game.

Walsall v Owls

Saddlers' striker Jon Macken dragged his half volley wide of the target before the Owls began to up the ante as the half time whistle approached.

Following good wing play from James Tavernier down the right to win a corner, Ben Marshall's dangerous delivery landed at the feet of Danny Batth who saw his volley closed down from 12 yards.

The same man headed over the bar from another Marshall cross in added time and that was the last of the first half action.

With chances at a premium in the first 45 minutes, it took the Owls just 30 seconds to engineer an opening after the break as Marshall picked up possession on the left before advancing goalwards and curling his effort just wide of the far post.

Wednesday continued to push forward as Chris O'Grady teed up Lowe inside the area but the striker side-footed wide of James Walker's goal.

Walsall v Owls

The second half was shaping up to be a much livelier affair as Alex Nicholls saw his powerful drive deflected just wide by Rob Jones on 55 minutes - this, the skipper's last involvement in the contest before being replaced by Miguel Llera.

Walsall then went within a whisker of breaking the deadlock as Jamie Paterson launched a fierce strike at goal that rattled the crossbar before Lowe put the Owls ahead.

Superb work from Lines down the right saw the midfielder motor past his marker before whipping a delightful ball into the box for Lowe to head into the far corner.

The game exploded into life following the breakthrough and O'Grady almost doubled the advantage moments later, turning sharply in the area and producing a smart save from Walker.

Macken then blasted a volley just over the angle as the home side threw men forward in search of an equaliser.

And the equaliser duly came as substitute Gnakpa's deflected strike found it's way into the corner.

That was minutes before Walsall sealed an unlikely victory as Smith stabbed into the top corner to seal all three points for the hosts.

Walsall: Walker, Sadler, Butler, Smith, Chambers, Macken, Beevers, Taundry (Gnakpa 77), Paterson (Bowerman 77), Nicholls, Peterlin

Substitutes: Grof, Westlake, Halliday

Wednesday: O'Donnell, Tavernier, Jones (Llera 56), Batth, R Johnson, Marshall, Lines, Semedo, Prutton, Lowe (Morrison 85), O'Grady

Substitutes: Jameson, Watt, J Johnson

    Data provided by Press Association


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