WALSALL SADDLE UP FOR RUN IN
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.”
STAR MAN BEN
Walsal l TUSSLE: Walsall’s Michael Ngoo, centre, battles with Shaun Brisley