Walsall FC finally staged their twice-postponed League One game with table-toppers Norwich City at the Banks's Stadium on Tuesday night and Walsall supporters were looking forward to this mouth-watering clash which had caused some controversy when it was first postponed on December 28th. Walsall welcomed back giant defender Clayton Mc Donald at the expense of the injured capatain Mark Hughes.
Saddlers showed all their battling qualities and in a rather tight first half were willing to take the game to Norwich and on occassions frightening the visitors into making a few mistakes. To be fair Norwich had played on an energy-sapping pitch on Saturday whereas Walsall had enjoyed a blank weekend due to Leeds United involvement in the FA Cup and this was another heavy pitch for Norwich to come to terms with.
Mc Donald and Manny Smith looked quite comfortable in the heart of the Walsall defence in that first period and soaked up what was thrown at them. Matt Richards and Dwayne Mattis really looked the part and they were driving their team forward. Strikers Darren Byfield and Troy Deeney began to cause problems for City's defence and on 35 minutes Deeney delighted the home fans with a goal as he slotted home.
The first period of the second half was much the same as Saddlers were probing forward whenever they could with winger Peter Till floating a few useful looking balls over but Walsall could not build on their lead despite knocking the ball about quite well but there was a lack of cutting edge and very few shots on target.
With around 25 minutes to go Norwich manager Paul Lambert made a couple of substitutions which worked wonders and changed the face of the game. From a corner Walsall keeper Clayton Ince dithered and Chris Martin had an easy tap in with 14 minutes remaining. To the horror of all concerned Walsall found themselves behind a couple of minutes later when Cody Mc Donald saw a low shot go in via the post. This was cruel luck for Walsall who had promised so much for much of the game.