Ishmel to the rescue for Walsall
A performance which papered over the cracks of recent weeks sent Saddlers fans home happy.
Despite missing Weston, and Mattis and the suspended Ricketts and carrying Stephen Hughes and Paul Boertien who missed large parts of pre season Walsall capitalised on some early Christmas presents. Even the return of Stephen Roberts despite not been fully fit didn't help the Saddlers as he struggled in the first half only to be replaced by Manny Smith at half time. However the Southend defence just could not handle Jabo Ibehre and the youngster Ishmel Demontagnac took full advantage.
In the game itself Walsall's Marco Reich (23) opened the scoring for the home side midway through the first half after a cross was not cleared and he fired home having been given the freedom of the Southend box. However Southend were soon level through loan signing Hal Robson-Kanu (33). Right on half time Alex Revell headed straight at Walsall 'keeper Clayton Ince when he should have done better, and in truth the vistors had been unlucky a number of times and only some last ditch defending from transfer listed Gerrard and Paul Boertien keeped Walsall in touch. So it was some harsh words from Manager Jimmy Mullen at half time.
It took Walsall just three minutes into the second half to score as ex Walsall trialist Anthony Grant (48) headed into his own net...I wonder if he regrets not chosing the Saddlers now!!, and two minutes later Ishmel Demontagnac (50) capitalised on another defensive error to increase the home sides lead after good work from Jabo. Ishmel (69) added his second, and Walsall's fourth with a diving header and Demontagnac's (84) hat-trick was complete six minutes from time as he beat two players out wide before firing a wonder shot come cross over the keepers head into the far corner. Lee Barnard (87) scored a late consolation for Southend after Walsall took there foot off the gas and made a number of subsitution. In truth Southend were well beaten and couldn't live with Walsall's work rate but equally the score line flattered the Saddlers.The question for Southend is how will they bounce back and will it dent there confidence.
As for Walsall, it still leaves plenty of questions especially on deadline day....will Gerrard go who will come in. Will Ricketts play against Orient next Saturday if so what happens to Ishmel, our defence is still a major concern.
However for now Ishmel Asbo Demontagnac got his first booking and a hat trick to leave all those who said he can't play up front wondering...could Ishmel be the answer to our goals scoring concerns....have your vote on the poll.