Super Saddlers seal success

19 March 2011 07:00
Walsall fought back from 2-0 down to win an amazing game with five second half goals beating Hartlepool 5-2 on manager Dean Smith's 40th birthday. The Saddlers looked dead and buried and virtually doomed to relegation when Hartlepool went two ahead. Colin Larkin - who hadn't scored since hitting one against Walsall in 2009 - scored in the 21st minute from Gary Liddle's cross and added a second in the 52nd minute when substitute Armann Bjornsson flicked on a free-kick for Larkin to poke the ball home. But Walsall's revival began with the introduction of substitute Emanuel Ledesma in the 55th minute. Within four minutes of his arrival Will Grigg pulled one back with a fierce shot on the turn, then Ledesma hit a post before crossing for Darren Byfield to head the Saddlers level in the 64th minute. Hartlepool suddenly collapsed and in the 77th minute when goalkeeper Scott Flinders could only block Grigg's shot, Julian Gray whipped home the rebound for his eighth of the season to give Walsall the lead. Defender Manny Smith headed their fourth in the 83rd minute from a Matt Richards cross and in the fourth and last minute of stoppage time Ledesma, who won the man of the match award, cracked in number five with a perfect free-kick from just outside the box.

Source: PA