Football: Hayward return is happy for Fulham

Walsall 2 Fulham 2 STEVE HAYWARD, Fulham's Walsall-born midfielder, struck a spectacular late equaliser from 25 yards last night to ensure honours even between the paupers and the princes who had already secured promotion from the Second Division.

Booed throughout for his alleged part in an injury sustained by a Walsall reserve player during his Carlisle days, Hayward powered the sweetest of rising drives beyond the goalkeeper James Walker with two minutes remaining.

Walsall, who led twice through Rob Steiner and Ian Roper's first League goal either side of Jamie Smith's venomous riposte for Fulham, may have been momentarily disappointed to see the champions snatch victory from their grasp.

If so, both team and supporters quickly recaptured the party mood. Remembering that the result did not really matter, they stayed long after the final whistle to rejoice in Walsall's extraordinary achievement.

For until the pounds 30,000 signing Richard Green appeared as a substitute in the last minute, not one of the home line-up had cost a transfer fee. Ray Graydon, their 51-year-old "rookie" manager, has taken a team who finished only four points clear of relegation last May and transformed them into worthy runners-up.

In contrast, Kevin Keegan has spent pounds 12m rebuilding at Craven Cottage. Yet there was seldom much between the teams. Fulham enjoyed the greater share of possession and created the clearer chances, but Walsall's spirit and organisation more than compensated for any disparity in quality.

Barry Hayles, one of two pounds 2m players in the visitors' ranks, caused Walsall particular problems with his speed and strength. Fortunately for Walker, Hayles' co-striker, Dirk Lehmann, put two good opportunities over the bar early on.

Walsall took the lead in the 40th minute, turning deep defence into rapid counter-attack after clearing a corner. The Croatian Darko Mavrak sent Steiner, a Swede on loan from Bradford, through to shoot against the post. Steiner kept his composure to stroke in the rebound.

Fulham drew level in first-half stoppage time. Chris Coleman's stunning crossfield pass picked out Smith, himself on loan from Crystal Palace. The wing-back's diagonal shot tore past Walker in a blur.

The second Walsall goal, like the first, arrived just as they were struggling to contain Fulham. Dean Keates' 70th-minute free-kick was headed back across the six-yard area by Adrian Viveash and Roper pounced from four yards.

"It's great pitting your wits against the England coach, the people's favourite," said Graydon. Keegan saw no reason for either to fear the First Division. Having promised to give any divisional manager's award to Graydon, he now went a step further. "If Ray gets the Manager of the Year, he deserves it. I think it's the achievement of the season - in any League."

Walsall (4-4-2): Walker; Marsh, Roper, Viveash, Pointon; Wrack (Carter, 78), Larusson, Keates, Mavrak (Green, 90); Steiner (Eyjolfsson, 74), Rammell.

Fulham (3-5-2): Taylor; Symons, McAnestie, Coleman; J Smith, Collins (Moody, 80), Hayward, Trollope (Bracewell, 44), Brevett; Hayles, Lehmann (N Smith, 80).

Referee: J Kirkby (Sheffield).

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
News
news
News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Renewable Energy Construction Manager

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices