Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Sunday April 11 2010
Darren Byfield's 69th minute goal gave the Saddlers an important win in a week of unrest at the Banks's Stadium.
The Saddler fans were in full voice after the game as they protested against chairman and owner Jeff Bonser and Chief exective Roy Whalley.
The game started lifelessly, as neither team could not get the game going. Tranmere were in 21st place at the start of the day, and with just a few games to go they were looking to lift themselves out of danger.
On 9 minutes Ian Thomas-Moore was unlucky not to put the visitors ahead, after his shot smashed off the top of the bar.
Gilmartin was on hand to make several good saves to keep the score level, as Tranmere picked holes in the Saddler defence.
On 12 minutes, the keeper saved a Taylor shot, with another good save from the resulting corner.
The sleepy defence was caught off guard on 27 minutes when Manny Smith deflected a Gareth Edds cross into his own net. The away supporters rejoiced from the opposite end of the field.
However, Smith dusted himself down to score another on 34 minutes, this time in the right end! A Jones corner saw the head of Smith who tapped past keeper Daniels to get the leveller. Saddlers were given the boost they needed against an energetic visiting team.
By now, the Walsall fans were in full voice singing 'We love Walsall, we hate Bonser!' and 'Stand up if you hate Whalley!'
As the second half began, an excellent chance by Nicholls blasted to the left of goal. Byfield had another chance miss the target on minute 54.
With 69 minutes gone, it was Byfield that gifted the home side the lead, getting past two defenders and neatly putting the ball past the Tranmere keeper. The forward's first goal in 6 games
Jones had another excellent chance on 79 minutes, his shot hitting the crossbar.The away team were surging forward, looking for another goal to scrape a point. The Saddlers were just about pulling through to stay on top. Bas Savage put in a battling performance for the visitors.
Ten minutes before the break, Nicholls pulled up injured and was replaced by Till. Shortly after, a jaded looking Byfield was replaced by Parkin, who makes his 3rd appearance in 14 games.
In the dying minutes, Jones ran with ball from outside the area in an excellent attempt, but the shot was saved. Parkin was left frustrated after being wide open to pass to.
In the last of the action, Mark Hughes was on hand to clear a Gareth Edds corner.
It was three points for the Saddlers, but most of the real action was seen off the field. Saddler fans continued their protest after the final whistle, frustated at the lack of investment from the Walsall big shots. We now look to the trip to Huddersfield on Tuesday night.
Date:Sunday April 11 2010
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