A Scott Brown wonder save in the 65th minute ensured that Port Vale’s promotion aspirations remain on track against a formidable home side at the Bescot Stadium on Saturday.
Brown somehow kept an Elijah Adebayo shot out of the net from point blank range in a type of situation where the bookies would almost certainly have paid out on the Walsall forward hitting the target after the striker connected with a delighted cross from the left.
It was redemption for the Valiant’s stopper who spilled a tame Rory Holden shot from the edge of the box in the 15th minute to gift Adebayo the equaliser in a pulsating encounter.
The save came in a second half in a tie where the Saddlers dominated possession for the most part and missed a string of chances that could have given the home supporters the bragging rights in a Potteries -Black Country derby that attracted over 6,000 fans, including 2,300 roaring on the Burslem based team in their all gold away strip with black trimmings.
It was the visitors that struck first with skipper Leon Legge heading in a Tom Conlon cross unchallenged at the back post in the 12th minute. Scott Burgess put the visitors ahead once more in the 36th minute when his right footed effort from 20 yards took a cruel deflection off a home defender to wrong foot Jack Rose in the Walsall goal.
It was Stoke born Josh Gordon who netted the equaliser for Walsall 13 minutes into the second half after he had earlier missed two gilt-edged chances. In a helter skelter affair where both sides sought a winner it was Port Vale came closest near the end but Dave Worrall’s volley from inside the box was well stopped by stand in goalkeeper Rose in a crowed penalty area.
Despite having led twice Vale boss John Askey expressed his satisfaction with a point.
He said: ‘’I don’t think we’ve performed today. There were parts of the second half where I was thinking if we come away with a point we’re going to do well.
“It just goes to show we can’t get too carried away with recent performances. Last weekend, one to eleven , everyone did really well but we couldn’t say that today.’’
Walsall boss Daryll Clarke wasn’t happy with the point.
And he paid tribute to Brown’s save in his post match comments and added: ‘’We were very unlucky not to win the game in the end.
“There’s a lot of positives and negatives to be taken from the game but the players won’t be getting too many pats on the back for a home point.’’
Both teams drop one place each in the table after Saturday’s stalemate with Port Vale dropping to seventh and Walsall to 14th.