Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Saturday March 20 2010
Darren Byfield scored an amazing injury time goal in a thrilling 1-0 win against Colchester today.
Captain Mark Hughes received a red card on the stroke of half time; but the Saddlers put in an inspired performance to claim all three points.
The game started quietly, Richard Taundry slotted in at right back to allow newly fit Dwayne Mattis into central midfield.
A rejuvenated Walsall side eventually found their feet as Deeney, Jones, Nicholls, Gray, Mattis and Taundry all linking up nicely.
On minute 13 Troy Deeney found Alex Nicholls, who was unlucky not to score as his shot struck the bar. Mattis had a superb shot from a Julian Gray assist saved just 3 minutes later.
Steve Jones had a chance stopped in its tracks by John White on 27 minutes, with the resulting Taundry free kick saved by the keeper.
Walsall were putting in some good work, but failed to find the goal.
It was on 45 minutes that the game was thrown up in the air. Mark Hughes made an ill timed tackle on Ashley Vincent, and the referee made no hesitation to give him a straight red. The Banks`s exploded into voice in disbelief as the Saddler`s raced to his defence, but there was nothing he could do but make his way to the showers. As the whistle blew for half time, Vincent left to rowdy Saddler supporters branding him a cheat.
The second half opened to a slow start,with Walsall playing some good football. On minute 59 a Richard Taundry free kick found itself to Deeney, but his shot was cleared over the bar.
On 70 minutes, the Saddlers held their breath as the ball went into their goal, but the assistant referee was on hand to disallow it. Gilmartin had saved a shot by Platt and Wordsworth was offside as he came for the rebound. Colchester were certainly not capitalising on the their extra man.
Gilmartin was on hand just minutes later, punching away a Kevin Lisbie shot, with Vincent eventually making the clearance.
Fresh legs were brought on on 75 minutes with Matthew Richards replacing Josh O Keefe. Byfield replaced Nicholls just 2 minutes later.
As the clock struck down, Walsall was finally rewarded for their hard work, despite having only 10 men. Deeney crossed to Byfield who made no mistake of flying the ball into the net. The whole stadium roared into delight and the supporters were finally given a reason to celebrate.
So, it was an excellent win for the Saddlers, and a much needed 3 points. They battled throughout and were undeterred by the dismissal of Hughes. They see struggling Southend away on Tuesday, more of the same, please!
Date:Saturday March 20 2010
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