Walsall’s incredible start to the 2018/19 League 1 season continued today against our most toughest opposition to date.
An eighty-seventh minute equaliser by Andy Cook grabbed the Saddlers a somewhat lucky draw against a Barnsley side who came out with a bang in the second half but Dean Keates group of lions continue to defy the odds as we all start to dream of a special season.
Keates made two surprise changes before the game with Connor Ronan and Josh Ginnelly starting with Andy Cook and Keiron Morris dropping to the bench – yes we do have a plan B!
The Saddlers could have taken the lead just after the half hour mark as Nicky Devlin aka the Scottish Cafu ran to the byline and his cross found Morgan Ferrier alone in the box but his stooping header was superbly tipped over by Barnsley’s twenty year old keeper Jack Walton.
Barnsley’s one and only effort of the half fell to George Moncur but his effort was superbly saved by Liam Roberts.
The Saddlers should have been one up just after half time. A corner from Dobbo found Josh Gordon who couldn’t quite believe he was onside and he somehow fired over.
Lady luck was shining down on Barnsley on the fifty-fifth minute as Mowatts cross found sub Victor Adeboyejo and his mishit shot rebounded off Liam Roberts, onto Jack Fitzwater and onto the post and trickled in. It was harsh on the Saddlers who had served up the perfect away performance until then.
Barnsley then were in the ascendancy as wave after wave of attacks saw them nearly stretch their lead. First the ball fell to Thiam on the edge of the box who somehow managed to find the town centre with his efforts, blazing high and wide. The dangerous Kieffer Moore then had the chance with a free header but somehow fifty-penced it towards the corner flag.
The Saddlers had corner after corner but couldn’t make their set pieces count and on the counter attack Barnsley had a four on one scenario. However Liam Roberts pulled off his second outstanding save of the game to deny Adeboyejo.
The Saddlers should have been level moments before we did equalise. The ball fell kindly to Jack Fitzwater inside the six yard box but he somehow fluffed it and sent the ball wide.
Keates made changes on eighty minutes as Andy Cook and Keiron Morris came on in quick succession to replace a leggy Josh Gordon and Josh Ginnelly. Keates ability to change the game paid off again as substitute Andy Cook grabbed the equaliser moments after coming on.
The ball ricocheted in and around the Barnsley penalty area and fell to Cook who took it past his man and fire into the bottom corner. Finally Cookie can breathe a sigh of relief for scoring a goal which didn’t start with him missing a penalty!
Cookie could have grabbed all three points at the death but instead of hitting it with his left peg he cut inside only to be blocked by the keeper.
The Saddlers live to fight another day and the unbelievable start to the season continues. This side will not go down without a fight. What a great bunch of lads we have.
We can be so proud of Dean Keates team.