Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Sunday February 28 2010
Walsall suffered an agonising defeat yesterday, falling to a dismal 5-1 drubbing away to Southampton. Despite an early lead, they could only look on as the sprightly home team gave them a lashing.
Rene Gilmartin replaced Clayton Ince in goal. Westlake returned to right back, as Manny Smith was unwell.
Walsall were handed a dream start, as Matthew Richards swept in a stunning free kick in the second minute, after a foul on Troy Deeney.
Despite the promising opening, an equaliser came just 5 minutes later as Jason Puncheon plunged the ball past Gilmartin.
Walsall failed to find their pace, and Lee Barnard made it 2-1 on 32 minutes, finding the net from close range. Barnard made no hesitation to extend their lead just 3 minutes later, putting the shot away from inside the penalty area.
Westlake was booked just before the break after fouling Harding, and Lambert was lucky not to extend Southampton`s lead from the resulting free kick .
Outplayed and outcast by an organised Southampton side, restless Walsall fans went to get halftime refreshments well before the break. The visiting side simply failed to take the few chances the saints gave them.
Just inside the second half, Richards cleared off the line to save Gilmartin`s blushes, after Dean Hammond struck.
Rickie Lambert made it 4-1 after pouncing from inside the 6 yard box on 61 minutes, the set up coming from Otsemobor.
A double change put a slight breath of fresh air back into the visiting team, as Rhys Weston replaced Daryll Westlake and Steve Jones replaced Darren Byfield on 67 minutes.
Walsall had a clear chance to make in 4-2 on 69 minutes, as Nicholls sent in a shot from the right, but Kelvin Davis was there to stop the ball. Weston had another chance for the Saddlers cleared by Otsemoor on 76 minutes.
A fifth Southampton goal secured their victorious day on 89 minutes, Adam Lallana sending the ball low into the net.
It was a disappointing day for the Saddlers. All they can do now is pick themselves up and look towards their next game, at home to Millwall next Saturday.
Date:Sunday February 28 2010
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