Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Saturday October 23 2010
Walsall suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Tranmere Rovers today at the Banks's. It was a very frustrating day as decision after decision went against the Saddlers and shouts the head's for manager Chris Hutchings and Owner Jeff Bonser echoed around the Banks's.
Tranmere, on the back of a 3-0 loss last weekend and at the foot of the table showed no loss of confidence and went out to defend, defend, defend. And they did with gusto.
Reuben Reid should have done better early on when Macken set him up for a stunning chance, but the shot was easily saved by the Tranmere shot stopper.
The first controversy of the game came early on when a Tranmere took a corner. The ball came in and Brain made a great save after the ball came off the foot of a Walsall player. A heated altercation between Jonny Brain and Ian Goodison ensued with players from both sides getting involved.
Devaney went dubiously into the book soon after, the fans were getting riled up already.
The first half was scrappy, Walsall were on the back foot throughout and both teams only showed glimpses of decent football being played.
Tranmere went one nil ahead on 33 minutes. Brain came out for a save and collided with Enoch Showunmi, the ball falling to Jon Welsh who made no mistake of hoofing the ball into the back of the Walsall goal for an unbelievable gift. A few defenders ran to salvage it but it was in vain. Walsall supporters sat in utter disbelief, today was not going to go their way.
Half time came and thoughts could be gathered, ready for a Saddler onslaught which we have seen a few times this season.
The second half started in much the same as the first, with Tranmere not interested in playing any decent passing and Walsall unable to break them down.
It did not take too long for the chants of 'We want Hutchings out' to ring around the stadium, closely followed by frustrations being vented at the referee who was blatantly not blowing for Tranmere fouls but not repaying the favour to Walsall.
Finally a Tranmere player, John Welsh was put into the book. Enoch Showunmi went soon after for hogging the ball away from Brain.
Walsall went 2-0 down and the second half went down hill from there. A poor back pass by Davies to Brain left Enoch Showumni preying who blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Luckless Reuben Reid, who should have done much better with the chances he had during the game, was replaced on 61 minutes by Alex Nicholls. The loanee was clearly unhappy as he made his exit with the crowd booing around him.
By this point the chants for Hutchings head reverberated around the ground as the fans grew more frustrated and restless.
However, Macken clawed Walsall back into the game on minute 64. Martin Devaney put a neat pass to him and he blasted the ball into the net. Another impressive assist from the loanee and good work from Macken.
Andrew Davies left the field soon after, with a thigh injury. McDonald was his replacement.
In true form of the day, Tranmere were 3-1 ahead after they were awarded a penalty on minute 75. Aaron Lescott brought down Dale Jennings and Ian Thomas Moore slotted the ball home. Walsall fans had 15 minutes more for the game to drag on, with no real inspiration to be seen.
Macken was replaced by Will Grigg on minute 81, to the suprise of the Walsall faithful. The youngster showed his promise getting involved, but missed a clear chance in the dying minutes of the game.
Walsall woes were compounded late on when John Welsh fired in a fourth. Saddler defence switched off and Welsh easily tucked the ball to the left of the goal.
The final whistle blew and boos rang out around the stadium. Disallusioned supporters carried their protest on against the management outside. They just want something to change at the Banks's.
Confidence all round is waning at the Banks's stadium and the Saddlers are clearly lacking any real direction in their playing. Tranmere deserved every bit of their victory as the Saddlers couldn't get their act together. Tranmere was the bottom league club going into the game but they did not show it.
Walsall are now 22nd, one below their opponents today. They travel to the Galpharm to take on Huddersfield next Saturday. Come on Saddlers, we know what you are capable of, so let's see it!
Date:Saturday October 23 2010
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