Sheffield United 1 Walsall 1: Porter on the spot but Blades saddled with point

SHEFFIELD UNITED’S midweek malaise at Bramall Lane continued as they were pegged back on a frustrating night against Walsall.

The Midlands club were the last team that the Blades had beaten at S2 on a Tuesday evening, back on October 23, 2012 – a 1-0 victory courtesy of Nick Blackman’s penalty.

Just like that autumnal night, the Blades profited from a spot-kick, coolly converted by Chris Porter for his third goal in four matches, moments before the break.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the Saddlers restored parity just a minute into the second half when Craig Westcarr clinically headed in James Baxendale’s cross for his 10th goal of the campaign – with the visitors’ first effort on target.

It was a patchy and unconvincing performance from the Blades, in front of their lowest home crowd since being relegated to the third tier, 14,796.

A largely insipid first half burst into life in the build-up to the interval in the shape of two huge penalty appeals for the hosts.

Referee Chris Sarginson was unmoved in the first incident on 41 minutes when marauding full-back Aidan White appeared to be tripped by Milan Lalkovic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the Staffordshire official answered spot-kick calls in the affirmative in first-half stoppage-time and it looked a far more controversial call.

With home fans still seething following the non-award a few minutes earlier, Sarginson spotted a handling offence by ex-Doncaster Rovers defender James Chambers following Tony McMahon’s cross.

After vehement protests from the Saddlers players died down, Porter coolly sent ex-Sheffield Wednesday custodian Richard O’Donnell the wrong way to put the hosts in front.

The opening 40 minutes had been largely devoid of incident apart from in the 16th minute when the Blades almost forged a breakthrough.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A fine corner from Stephen McGinn was flicked towards goal by Conor Coady, but he was denied a first goal in Blades’ colours by a timely clearance on the line by Andy Butler.

Michael Doyle almost got on the end of Coady’s cross, and the Saddlers’ Ashley Hemmings saw his deflected 25-yard shot beaten away by George Long.

The nearest United went to a winner was when Lyle Taylor headed wide following McMahon’s centre.

Sheffield United: Long; McMahon, Collins, Hill, White; Coady, McGinn, Doyle, Lappin (Murphy 78); Porter (L Taylor 81), Miller (Baxter 61). Unused substitutes: Howard, Cuvelier, King, McGinty.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Walsall: O’Donnell; J Chambers, Downing, Butler, A Taylor; Baxendale (Sawyers 76), A Chambers, Featherstone (Hewitt 86), Mantom; Lalkovic (Hemmings 64), Westcarr. Unused substitutes: Purkiss, Lewis, Benning, Gray.

Referee: C Sarginson (Staffordshire).