WAL­SALL SAD­DLE UP FOR RUN IN

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Peter Fran­cis

IT MAY not have been one of foot­ball’s best spec­ta­cles but Wal­sall de­fender James Cham­bers in­sists their bat­tling shut-out against fel­low play-off ri­vals Peter­bor­ough shows they are equipped to match the best.

With Fri­day night’s weather mak­ing flow­ing foot­ball al­most im­pos­si­ble, chances were at a pre­mium at Lon­don Road, with the Sad­dlers’ best open­ings com­ing in the first half.

Posh ral­lied af­ter the break with Britt As­som­ba­longa hav­ing the best chance be­fore fir­ing straight at keeper Richard O’Don­nell, as the de­fences came out on top.

Cham­bers him­self re­turned to the side from a re­cent ham­string prob­lem, slot­ting into the heart of de­fence to re­place sus­pended skip­per Andy But­ler.

And with his side shor­ing up their de­fence fol­low­ing their 3-0 loss to MK Dons last week, the for­mer West Brom man be­lieves his side are well po­si­tioned for an ex­cit­ing cli­max.

“It was not ex­actly a spec­ta­cle,” he ad­mit­ted. “It was dif­fi­cult for both teams and we tried to stay com­pact and not give any­thing away.

“There are not many teams who will keep two clean sheets against Peter­bor­ough this sea­son.

“We dug in and I was pleased with what was a bat­tling per­for­mance from the lads.

“We would have liked to have gone for it a bit more but the con­di­tions didn’t al­low it.

“These are ex­cit­ing times for us. We’ve evolved from last year and are that bit wiser now as a group.

“March is go­ing to be a tough month with the vol­ume of games that we have, but we have put our­selves in a good po­si­tion with plenty of points to play for.

“We fancy our chances against any­one as this level. We’ve done well against the top teams and it all bodes well for the fi­nal 15 games.”

The game’s first chance didn’t ar­rive un­til the 25th minute when an un­marked Michael Ngoo headed straight at Posh keeper Bobby Ole­jnik.

Wal­sall con­tin­ued to find their feet, with Sam Man­tom twice de­nied by Ole­jnik ei­ther side of an ef­fort from Mi­lan Lalkovic which flashed just wide.

But the hosts im­proved af­ter the break with O’Don­nell twice sav­ing from Michael Bost­wick be­fore grate­fully col­lect­ing As­som­ba­longa’s re­bound shot hav­ing ini­tially de­nied Danny Swan­son.

Fe­bian Brandy then had a late ef­fort for Wal­sall but his edge-of-the-box shot went nar­rowly over with Peter­bor­ough man­ager Dar­ren Fer­gu­son ac­cept­ing the point may come in handy later on.

“This was a game that was al­ways go­ing to be won or lost by a set-piece or a mis­take,” he said. “It was al­ways go­ing to be a scrappy game and it wasn’t easy for the play­ers.

“We asked the play­ers to use com­mon sense and en­sure the ball didn’t get stuck in the mud, but there were a few too many stray passes for my lik­ing.

“But this might turn out to be a very good point come the end of the sea­son.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

STAR MAN BEN

S PURKIS

Wal­sal l TUS­SLE: Wal­sall’s Michael Ngoo, cen­tre, bat­tles with Shaun Bris­ley

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