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Pools Share Points With Walsall

24 November 2012

Evan Horwood scored from the spot as Hughes' men pick up a point at Walsall

Pools went into today's game having not won in 18 outings, while hosts Walsall had failed to pick up three points in their last 13 attempts so a draw will not have been the most surprising of results.

John Hughes' men did pass the ball about nicely in spells and enjoyed their fair share of the ball in this first half – however, it was Walsall who looked the more dangerous going forward.

While Saddlers keeper Aaron McCarey had very little to do in the opening period, Scott Flinders and his back line were kept on their toes at the other end.

Febian Brandy was an early threat for the hosts, trying his luck with a few early shots but he found Pools in resolute mood, seeing one effort blocked by Antony Sweeney and another sent wide under pressure from Peter Hartley.

With another effort from distance from Brandy sneaking wide and a pacy volley from Ashley Hemmings, Pools were being pressed at the back and having to work hard to break out of their own half.

Walsall were using their width well to break down the wings and Pools, with Sam Collins in particular looking solid, were digging deep to keep them out.

And then Pools broke forward to take the lead in the game; great work by Steve Howard saw the big forward nick in to chase down a short back pass from Hemmings only to be tripped inside the area by McCarey.

The referee awarded the penalty kick, Evan Horwood stepped up to take it and slid it home calmly to make it 1-0 to Hughes’ men.

In the remainder of the half, Walsall continued to press and Flinders was forced into making a couple of good saves to hold on to the lead and allow Pools to go into the second half ahead.

Walsall started the second half much as they had finished the first and continued to pour forward onto the Pools goal.

And with just four minutes of the second 45 having been played, they were level; Flinders had reacted well to block an initial shot but Dean Holden was on hand to pounce on the rebound and poked home the equaliser from close range.

Pools now faced a real mental battle if they were to re-take the lead in this game but credit to Hughes' outfit, they gradually began to look more dangerous, with the introduction  of Ryan Noble offering a new outlet. 

Sam Collins got in a great block to deny Paterson, while the forward sent a neat strike just over Flinders’ bar after skipping past Richards moments later.

The game really was an open one now; Pools were enjoying space down the left with Horwood and Monkhouse linking up well, while at the other end, Brandy went desperately close to scoring with a fierce strike across goal.

And both teams did press to the very end but there was no winner and they had to settle for a point each - as well as an extension to their run of games without a win.

Full Time: Walsall 1 Pools 1

Att: 4562 (90 Pools)

Booked: Richards (68)

Pools: Flinders, Richards, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Murray (Noble 51), Sweeney, Humphreys, Franks (Poole 80), Howard, Monkhouse
Subs Not Used: Foden, Luscombe, Holden, Baldwin, Wyke 

Walsall: McCarey, Taundry, Butler, Holden, Featherstone, Grigg (Boweran 76), Paterson, Hemmings (Westcarr 46), Brandy, Taylor, Mantom
Subs Not Used: Chambers, Downing, Baxendale, Chambers, Westcarr, Grof

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