Kick-off was delayed ten minutes at Bramall Lane due to a fire-alarm problem, although after a game low on quality and incident, fans might have wished it had been postponed indefinitely.
Walsall played five in midfield and Sheffield United seemed content to allow the visitors possession, indeed it was difficult to fathom at times who the home team was.
The two talking points of the first-half centred on a penalty that wasn’t awarded and one that was.
On forty minutes United defender Aidy White broke into the box and went down after a clumsy challenge from Lalkovic. However, referee Sarginson waved away appeals indicating the Walsall winger played the ball.
A minute into time added-on, United did get a penalty when James Chambers was adjudged to have handled the ball. Chris Porter fired home to put The Blades 1-0 up at the break.
Walsall manager Dean Smith’s said he felt ‘hard done by about the penalty decision. That certainly wasn’t deliberate handball. The first one was, for the foul by Milan Lalkovic, but two wrongs don’t make a right’.
United manager Nigel Clough believed, ‘one penalty was the least we should have had this evening’.
The highlight of the second-half came within two minutes of the restart. Walsall levelled when. Baxendale went down the right and his cross was powerfully headed home by Craig Westcarr.
That was as good as it got, as the game returned to the mediocrity of the first-half and at the whistle the frustrated reaction of home fans told you everything you needed to know.
Both managers acknowledged that reaction, with United boss Clough saying ‘it was a hard-earned point, but I’m disappointed with the goal we conceded again’, adding, ‘I was disappointed with our final delivery at times – we got into some good, positive positions and set-plays but weren’t quite on it’.
His counterpart Dean Smith reflected, ‘we were average tonight. We know we can play a lot better and it was probably a fair result. But it shows how far we’ve come that we can go away from Bramall Lane disappointed with only a point’.