The early stages of the game were fairly even with neither side carving any real chances of any note.
It was clear that Walsall were determined to try and keep a clean sheet because when the Cherries did move forward, they packed their penalty area with a at least 8 outfield players, and with our recent prowess, a tactic that could well of worked!
There was a distinct air of determination about the Cherries this afternoon, typified by Marc Wilson who didn't flinch from any challenges and was superb in everything he did. Even when he did loos the ball, he was first there to challenge back, and invariably won the ball back again with some excellent tackles.
Reward for dominating the middle/end of the first half came in the 20th minute, all started when another Wilson challenge won the ball back after it was given away. Walsall failed to make any headway with their throw in with the ball falling to Kuffour, in a neat passing move which saw the ball spread wide right to Telfer, his low cross found its' way back to Kuffour to slot the ball home in the 20th minute for only our 4th home League goal of the season!
Despite dominating in terms of possession, no further clear cut chances were created for either the Cherries. As for the Saddlers ....... Neil Moss had virtually nothing to do!
If the same performance could have been repeated in the second half as both sides had in the first, then 3-points would have been ours for the first time on home territory. Sadly it was not to be!
Walsall were far more determined in the 2nd period not play so badly as they had in the first. Where as the Cherries seemed to go back in to their shells in an attempt to hold on to a single goal lead.
The Cherries did have chances to finish off the Saddlers before they gained their equaliser. Sadly, the chances that were presented were either far too tame, straight at their keeper, or in the case of Lee Bradbury, the ball got stuck between his feet before he could get a shot away. Another Bradbury chance was cleared off the goal line ...... there was simply no joy in front of goal in the second period for AFC Bournemouth.
The equaliser came with just 9 minutes to go when Wrack managed to get on the end of a cross, which appeared to take a deflection to wrong foot Neil Moss. The final few minutes, although not overly frantic did look as if Walsall were the more likely to score and nick a winner as Cherries heads seemed to drop slightly.
Thankfully, Walsall were unable to make any further headway so had to settle for a point.
A much better performance from the Cherries, just a shame they (a) couldn't capitalise on chances when presented and (b) hold on to the lead.
AFCB: Moss, Telfer, Gowling, Cooper, Wilson, Anderton, Hollands, Karacan, Lallana, Kuffour, Bradbury
Subs: Stewart, Young, Vokes (for Anderton, 83), Pearce, Pitman (for Lallana, 68)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth