Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Saturday September 25 2010
Walsall have suffered their sixth defeat this season, this time at the hands of lucky Hartlepool.
Three changes were made as Nicholls returned to the starting lineup, alongside Macken and Reid. Lancashire replaced McDonald in defence. Marshall sat out the match as Hutchings played a 4-3-3.
The game started well as Saddlers were looking lively and organised with Reid running apace at the front. They took an early lead thanks to a well taken Gray shot after some good work by McGivern and Richards. 0-1 The Saddler fans were in fine voice after a promising start.
Hartlepool were weak in midfield and Walsall could have easily been ahead by more, but their lack of cohesion and clinical finishing let them down. All three strikers were working hard but lacking poise in front of goal.
As the half ticked down, Hartlepool edged their way into the game, when, on 43 minutes, they got an equaliser. Anthony Sweeney got into space, the Saddlers minds were elsewhere and they took their opportunity to pull things even. 1-1
The second half started shakily for the Saddlers and Hartlepool wasted no time in taking the lead. A free kick was awarded to them and the ball came in for Monkhouse and he headed it sweetly into the net. Walsall were left frustrated and looking at each other at where they went wrong. 2-1
After that, Saddlers looked jaded, out of sorts and not like creating any real chances. Fans were vocal in their dismay at Hutchings with chants of 'You'll be sacked in the morning' echoing around the away stand. It was hard not to point the finger in his direction as little emotion was seen by him or assistant boss Martin O' Connor.
Smith went down with a bleeding head after an accidental collision with Reid, but he soon carried on after treatment.
On 67 minutes Walsall were lucky not to go further behind as a Hartlepool danger was avoided.
After fan frustrations poured out, Hutchings put on Will Grigg for Julian Gray in an attempt to salvage the game for a point.
Some hopeful good work towards the end involving Richards, McGivern, Reid ended in a effort by Lescott, but the shot easily saved.
As 4 minutes time was added, late chances by McGivern and Reid went unsuccessful and the Saddlers hopeful start seemed a distant memory.
Another day, another disappointment and there seems to be no let up and not much by way of light at the end of the tunnel. The fans spent a time relentlessly chanting for Hutching's departure and perhaps that what they need to rejuvenate their season.
Date:Saturday September 25 2010
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