Yeovil Town and Walsall played out a goalless draw in a promotion-chasing encounter at a chilly Huish Park this afternoon.
Neither side had too many chances to win the game although the hosts were indebted to Marek Stech for pulling off two terrific reaction saves to deny Will Grigg and Febian Brandy. At the other end, both James Hayter and Dan Burn looked to have clear shouts for a penalty turned down by referee Tim Robinson and there is no doubt that Saddlers manager Dean Smith will be the happier of the two managers.
The Glovers remain in seventh spot but have now drawn four out of the last five matches, won once in eight games and yet they find themselves still right in the mix for promotion after other results went their way this afternoon.
Manager Gary Johnson made one change to his starting eleven following the side’s 3-3 draw at Carlisle last weekend. New loan signing from QPR, Angelo Balanta, came straight into the starting line up replacing Dominic Blizzard who was injured. Joe Edwards resumed at left back with Kevin Dawson taking up a central midfield role alongside Ed Upson.
And it was Upson who had the first sight of goal in the first minute but he stubbed his effort and keeper Sam Johnstone gathered easily. Edwards floated a ball to the back post that looked closer than it was and on twelve minutes, Edwards mishit a shot and Burn headed Balanta’s cross wide of the post.
Brandy forced a terrific save from Stech soon after and Hayter fired one at the keeper and another over the bar but the action then died down during a largely insipid first period. The action wasn’t helped by time wasting tactics from Walsall at goal kicks and set pieces that slowed down any momentum the Glovers wanted to build up. Burn hit a roaster of a shot just wide after the half hour, the last real chance of note from either side.
After the interval for the first twenty minutes, the Glovers were awful at times, giving away cheap possession, passing all over the place and offering chances to the opposition. Great work from Brandy set up Adam Chambers but his shot was blocked and at the other end, Yeovil had a great shout for a spot kick when Hayter was fouled in the box but nothing doing from the official.
Balanta then put the cross of the match across after Burn had burst forward but there was nobody in the box to take advantage and the moment was gone. Both sides had a succession of corners in the middle part of the second half but there was no real clear cut openings for either side.
Stech saved well from Grigg, tipping his close range shot over the crossbar on 75 minutes and Paul Downing headed the subsequent corner wide and with five minutes to go, Burn was hauled down in the box from sub Matt Dolan’s free kick but again, no positive decision from ref Robinson, leaving the home contingent angry.
The match was summed up by an Upson free kick in the 89th minute that sailed over the crossbar and after four minutes of stoppage time, the second biggest home league crowd of the season, 5594, went home disappointed at the side’s stalemate.