Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Saturday May 8 2010
Walsall are celebrating tonight after they secured a 10th place finish with a 2 -1 win against MK Dons today.
The Saddlers started brightly with Dons keeper Stuart Searle being kept very busy. On 15 minutes Matt Richards crossed to Julian Gray before the ball fell to Darren Byfield, but the keeper cleared the danger. Deeney had a good chance 2 minutes later but put the ball just over the bar.
Shortly after, Richards took a sublime free kick, the ball rattling the crossbar, narrowly missing the target. Byfield then put the ball in the back of the net on the rebound but the effort was ruled offside.
However, on minute 25, against the run of play MK Dons grabbed the lead. The defence fell to sleep which allowed Daniel Powell to slot the ball home. It was a cruel blow to the otherwise hardworking Saddlers.
Walsall struggled to get back into the game, the remainder of the first half was promising but failed to produce a goal. On minute 40 Byfield had a clear chance but fired the ball wide.
The second half began with a 'Freedom of Speech' banner, displayed by disgruntled fans in the floors 2 go stand, ironically being taken down by stewards.
As play got under way, the crowd had to wait just 1 minute into the second half to get the leveller as Matthew Richards received the ball 20 yards out and smashed a side footed shot into the back of the net. The midfielder worked tirelessly throughout the game, picking up the ball from the centre and feeding it to the strikers.
On 52 minutes and the atmosphere rising, with many a Cypriot flag being displayed by the fans in protest against Chairman Jeff Bonser, a fan was hauled out of the ground by the over zealous security. Bonser obviously determined to show fans who's boss.
Much of the second half saw Walsall enjoying much of the posession, but not finding the goal. Jones took a fine shot on 78 but the attempt was blocked.
Nicholls came on for Byfield on 81 minutes.
Deeney took a shot on 83 from a Nicholls pass but the was saved.
It was on 85 minutes that Walsall finally got what they deserved through out. Jones fed the ball to Manny Smith who slotted the ball home, a great finish from the defender.
McDonald came on for Jones late on as Walsall secured a fantastic win.
The crowd could not help running onto the pitch to celebrate with the players as the final whistle blew. The Saddlers then came back out to do their traditional lap of honour, a positive way to end an erratic season! Matthew Richards deservingly took the man of the match honours.
We have seen a decent side in the last 5 or so games, it is a shame it took the Saddlers so long to find their form. We look towards next season and hopefully success!
Date:Saturday May 8 2010
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