Chesterfield 2 Walsall 2
After his team picked up a well-deserved point from this draw with rugged Chesterfield, Paul Merson insisted that good players make managers look good. You couldn't argue with that.
His starting line-up included five recent recruits and they all performed so well that the Spireites must have been relieved to get a point and stretch their unbeaten run to 12 games.
Even if the Saddlers had lost, the 596 travelling fans who have suffered some poor displays away from home would not have been unhappy because they saw a vast improvement.
It was so unfortunate that latest signing Paul Devlin picked up an early calf strain that forced him to go off before half-time. Otherwise, Walsall could well have taken all three points.
The former Birmingham City man, signed last week from Watford, was lively and positive right from the start and should be fit for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie with Stoke City.
He will miss tomorrow night's LDV Vans southern area semi-final at Swansea, as will the ineligible Kevin James and Michael Leary, but left-back Danny Fox can return after a one-match suspension.
The Saddlers will be desperately short of strikers against the high-flying Swans and Merson, still searching for a new hit-man, said: "We need someone with experience to hold the ball up and calm things down".
The Saddlers had failed to score in four of their previous five league games, so the fact that they hit two in one match away from home speaks volumes for their
improvement. Twice they took the lead, but each time Chesterfield fought back and Merson was disappointed that two points slipped away.
"In the first half, we got the goal we deserved, then fell asleep on a set-piece," he said. "The lads are disappointed because it should have been three points, which shows how far we have come since we got the loan players in."
After the back-to-form Chris Westwood had cleared off the line from Jamie O'Hara in the sixth minute, the Saddlers outplayed the Spireites with some excellent football.
Then in the 33rd minute, Devlin sent James away down the right wing. The on-loan Nottingham Forest player cut between two defenders and crossed perfectly for Mads Timm to ram the ball into the roof of the net.
Walsall, however, still have a weakness in dealing with set-plays. This time, O'Hara's free-kick in 36 minutes found the unmarked Wayne Allison who headed a simple equaliser. How the Saddlers need a player like Allison.
Five minutes into the second half, Walsall were back in front. Mark Wright, a right winger playing at left-back because of Fox's suspension, broke from defence and found Timm who waited until just the right moment to release Grant Smith through the middle and he made no mistake.
More Chesterfield pressure saw goalkeeper Joe Murphy, in his last appearance before returning to Sunderland, pull off two great saves before an 80th-minute equaliser from Kevan Hurst, but James and Timm had very good chances to win a fine match.