BLADES’ PORTER PROVES A PARTY POOPER

WAL­SALL ........1 SHEFF UTD ......1 United level late to deny Wal­sall vic­tory

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

SH­EFFIELD UNITED sub Chris Porter proved the party-pooper as his equaliser blew out the can­dles on Wal­sall’s birth­day cake – but a point apiece did nei­ther side’s cause any favours.

Hav­ing com­pletely bossed the first hour, the play-off chas­ing Sad­dlers – cel­e­brat­ing their 125th an­niver­sary on the day – missed a great chance to go level on points with sixth-placed Swin­don.

And while United were grate­ful for the point, they none­the­less slipped fur­ther be­hind top two Don­caster and Bournemouth in the race for au­to­matic pro­mo­tion.

Blades boss Danny Wil­son said:“Away from home, star­ing at no points, we’ve got one so we’ve got to be thank­ful for small mer­cies.Who knows what that point might mean at the end of the sea­son?

“It was the prover­bial game of two halves.We never got a grip in the first half, looked anx­ious, didn’t han­dle the pitch well at all and al­lowed Wal­sall too much space.

“There had to be one or two choice words at half-time be­cause I was very, very an­gry with the per­for­mance, par­tic­u­larly given the po­si­tion we are in, but sec­ond half we got a great re­sponse.

“We’ve got to be more force­ful in our ap­proach and not be timid and wait for things to hap­pen – we’ve really got to clench our fists and go at teams in the six games we have left.”

Wal­sall dom­i­nated the first half and, af­ter Fe­bian Brandy dragged a great chance wide, they went ahead a minute from the break as Craig West­carr turned neatly to fire into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Brandy had two great one-on-one chances to dou­ble Wal­sall’s lead early in the sec­ond half but dragged one off­tar­get and over­ran the other, al­low­ing keeper Ge­orge Long to get a vi­tal touch.

And they were made to pay for those misses as Kevin McDon­ald’s 20-yarder hit both posts and was poked home by Porter a yard out to earn United a point.

Wal­sall boss Dean Smith, though, was more con­cerned with a bad act of sports­man­ship from the striker mo­ments ear­lier that he classed as the game’s piv­otal moment.

The Sad­dlers had kicked the ball out of play on the half­way line af­ter a Blades fa­cial in­jury but Porter booted the dropped ball deep into Wal­sall ter­ri­tory, earn­ing the ire of Smith.

He said: “The mo­men­tum changed when their cen­tre-for­ward didn’t give us the ball back and they ended up hav­ing a shot from out­side the box. Emo­tion­ally, it up­set our play­ers and they took con­trol from there.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing and I felt it changed the mo­men­tum of the game but to be fair to the lad, he apol­o­gised as he was coming off.

“There’s a feel­ing in the dress­ing room as though we’ve been beaten be­cause we should have been out of sight with the chances we had. On an­other day, Fe­bian scores two or three. “But it’s 13 games un­beaten now, which is a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment and we’ve still got some­thing to play for with three games to go.”

ANDY BUTLE

R

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