Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Monday April 5 2010
Walsall will be relieved tonight as they ran out 2-1 winners against Wycombe Wanderers.
Hughes re-entered the midfield after serving his suspension, with Netan Sansara dropping to the bench. Nicholls also went back into the starting lineup for Deeney, who is starting the first of his three match ban.
The game began scrappily, but the Saddlers were looked energetic after a disappointing run of results. Gray and Byfield linked up well, along with Taundry and Jones in central midfield.
The first goal came on just 7 minutes, as Gray edged out the Wycombe defence with a clever one two with Byfield, forcing it to a corner. The delivery was taken by Gray and the ball was smashed into the net by Manny Smith.
The Saddlers fans did not have long to wait before the lead was doubled. On 23 minutes Byfield sent the ball chasing down the pitch, passing it to Nicholls before it came back to him and smashed it into the net. The Saddler faithful sighed relief as the positive Saddler side looked ambitious.
Rene was forced into action on 33 minutes, as Walsall let their concentration slip. Gareth Ainsworth got in from the right hand side and the 6ft4 keeper had to save his dangerous shot from point blank range.
Walsall had a chance to make it three on soon after as Hinshelwood fouled Byfield just outside the area, but Richard Taundry took a weak free kick.
Walsall had to keep up their pace as the second half brought a rejuvenated Wycombe side. On 46 minutes Bloomfield was unlucky as his excellent shot sailed over the bar.
On 68 minutes, a ball in from the defence found Byfield, who found Nicholls, but the Wycombe goalkeeper managed to push away the danger and the ball ricocheted off Nicholls for a goal kick.
On 77 minutes the Walsall defence fell asleep as Wycombe slipped in a lifeline. A throw in near the Walsall corner was flicked on by McLeod for Hinshelwood to tap it into the net.
Parkin came on for Nicholls in the 79th minute closely followed by Bradley in place for Jones
The last ten minutes were nervous for the Saddler support as they battled to keep their lead
On 88 minutes Ainsley slipped away from Vincent, but Gilmartin was on hand again to make a superb save, as he leapt in the air for the ball.
The Saddlers hung on and were glad when the final whistle blew. The Saddler side linked up well as a team but the defence must tighten to eradicate easy goals in the run up to the end of the season.
Next Saturday we welcome Tranmere to the Banks`s and hopefully the Saddlers can build on today`s performance.
Date:Monday April 5 2010
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