Sutton United 1 (Milsom 72 pen) Walsall 1 (Maddox 86)
Sutton suffered a frustrating afternoon, playing against ten men for three quarters of the game and struggling to break down a massed and determined Walsall defence until Rob Milsom's penalty appeared to have finally given U's some control, only for Jacob Maddox to equalise for Walsall with four minutes to go with only the visitors' second shot of the game. After the dismissal of Brandon Comley for two fouls on Craig Eastmond in the space of ten minutes, the second forcing U's skipper off with a facial injury, Walsall defended doggedly and in numbers, and Sutton found it difficult to break them down, being restricted to long range efforts. Eventually a needless foul by Peter Clarke on Coby Rowe following a corner gave Milsom the chance to provide U's supporters with relief, but it still wasn't enough as Maddox sent a low shot past Lewis Ward from just outside the penalty area.
Walsall's first shot came in the first five minutes, Douglas James-Taylor seeing a shot beaten away by Ward, and an uncompromising early approach saw Haydon White booked for clattering Omar Bugiel, and Comley shown his first yellow card soon afterwards. Eastmond recovered from that challenge and thought he had put U's ahead after twenty minutes when Will Randall met a cleared cross with a volley that hit the post, and although Eastmond rattled the rebound past Owen Evans he was denied by an offside flag.
Four minutes later Comley caught Eastmond again with a high boot and referee Paul Howard had no hesitation in showing a second yellow card, but any advantage U's might have had was lessened as Eastmond followed Comley down the tunnel with a bloodied face.
Sam Hart came on as a replacement, with Milsom moving in to midfield, while Walsall also made a change, the lively James-Taylor sacrificed for midfielder Tom Knowles, and the game became a case of attack v defence as Walsall slowed the game down and got players behind the ball, and Sutton struggled to pass through or round them. One patient build-up ended with Adam Lovatt shooting low from outside the penalty area and Evans pushing the effort round the post.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with Milsom testing Evans from distance but U's otherwise struggling to create chances as Walsall dealt comfortably with crosses in to the box and closed down gaps whenever U's tried to play through.
The breakthrough eventually came, though, after Evans had clawed Randall's dipping cross out from under the bar and Donervon Daniels had headed the ball out for a corner under pressure from Bugiel. When Randall's deep corner came in, Clarke seemed to have undone all Walsall's good work by dragging Rowe to the ground as he tried to head the ball back across goal, and Milsom scored from the penalty spot.
Needing to become more attacking, Walsall made a triple substitution and the initial impact was to allow U's a bit more space. Randall cut in and hit a tremendous shot from 25 yards which was superbly tipped over by former Sutton loanee Evans, and a crucial interception by Liam Bennett prevented a Donovan Wilson pass leaving Randall with just Evans to beat. Just how crucial it would be was clear four minutes from the end when Knowles got in behind the defence to collect Taylor Allen's pass and took advantage of Joe Kizzi's slip to cut in and fire a shot that was blocked by Rowe, only for Danny Cashman to tee up fellow substitute Maddox for a low shot that beat Ward and rescued Walsall a point.
Sutton: L Ward, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Rowe, C Eastmond(sub S Hart 30), L John, E Boldewijn(sub J Neufville 87), A Lovatt, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 80), D Wilson(sub T Fadahunsi 87), W Randall. Subs n/u B House, L Gambin, K Thomas. Booked: Randall
Walsall; O Evans, H White(sub J Maddox 76), L Bennett, P Clarke(sub A Williams 76) D Daniels, M Monthe, I Hutchinson, (sub D Cashman 76), L Kinsella, D Johnson(sub T Allen 65), D James-Taylor(sub T Knowles 30), B Comley. Subs n/u L Gordon, R Maher. Booked: White, Comley. Sent Off: Comley(foul-second booking)
Referee: Paul Howard
Attendance: 2,773 (349 away)