Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Wednesday March 9 2011
Dean Smith has called off all talk of relegation despite last night's 2-0 home defeat to Leyton Orient, declaring one game does not a relegation make.
A paltry 3,019 spectators arrived at the Banks's and saw a nondescript Saddlers side defeated by a weak Orient team.
Saddlers saw much of the ball in the first half but did little to create any real chances. Dean Cox was looking fiery down the right but Walsall was doing just enough to keep their heads above water.
Some good play between Gbarssin, Macken and Ledesma saw Macken shoot shy of the target and the ball fell shy of the target on 7 minutes.
Alex Revell played in Scott McGleish on 13 minutes in a dangerrous attack for Orient, but thankfully the ball fired wide.
One of the best Saddler chances came on 18 minutes when some crossing between Gray, Williams, Taundry ended with Matthew Richards firing for goal but the shot going into the arms of Jamie Jones, with the follow up hitting the post by Julian Gray then Ledesma firing wide. So close yet so far!
Saddlers continued seeing much of the ball but seldom getting anywhere.
Walker had to save Lancashire on 27 minutes as he made a risky backpass.
Gbarssin then had a chance on 31 minutes after some play by Ledesma and Taundry. The ball smacked the post and Walsall were denied once again.
Butler was booked on 33 minutes for an ill timed challenge on Charlie Daniels.
However, a half time reprieve to regroup with the score even was lost on 42 minutes when Harry Kane did the honours for the visitors to put them one ahead.
Westlake failed to clear a surging Dean Cox on the right who passed to Kane who made no mistake, the ball taking a deflection off the 20 year old as it went in. 0-1
Walsall were quiet, Orient not playing too clever either and they couldn't quite get a grip on the game.
As play reopened, Walsall had a fantastic chance as they were awarded a freekick in an ideal position. They opted for a well worked freekick involving Matthew Richards, Richard Taundry and Williams saw Taundry shoot..right at the keeper. If only that would just go in for the Saddlers!
Orient went two ahead on 55 minutes. Tehoue, who scored the equaliser against Arsenal in the FA Cup, was brought on and didn't waste much time in scoring from close range. The game was becoming ever unreachable for the Saddlers. 0-2.
Richard Taundry was taken off and Nicholls brought on. The midfielder had done well but more firepower was needed.
Walker then made a good save on 59 minutes as Kane beckoned once again.
The Saddlers played the second half battling away but Orient showed their quality.
The tiring Ledesma was replaced by Darren Byfield on 66 minutes.
Macken teed up Gray on 63 minutes but the ball went wide. The left winger shot wide again a minute later after passing from Richards and Macken.
Byfield was unlucky on 77 minutes as the balled was passed around the Orient goal by Richards, Gray and Nicholls but his over head kick went way over goal.
Matthew Richards was announced Man of The Match. The left midfielder worked hard all game.
There was a good chance late in as Macken and Gray set up Gbarssin but the ball went above the goal.
And that was it, Walsall were defeated.
With a positive run of results of late, this was a real kick in the teeth for Walsall's survival campaign. The game was extremely underwhelming with Walsall lacking in fight and spirit.
Smith told the Express and Star: '"If we`d won, lost or drawn it wasn`t going to define where we`re going to be at the end of the season, we`ve still got 10 games to go.'
'Of course it`s a concern, we should have taken our chances but didn`t. In the last few games we haven`t scored as many as we should have done.' He added.
Walsall are back in the relegation zone as Dagenham and Redbridge climb out and Saturday's opponents Swindon go bottom.
The Saddlers have scored once in 5 games and that's worrying, but are boosted by conceding only 4 in that time. If anything, Walsall scoring makes it ten times more fun for the supporters. They have picked up only 5/25 points in that time.
As Dean Smith says, it is only one game, but a performance Walsall can seldom afford.
We now look towards Saturday's long trip to Yeovil Town, then a much needed week off, before Hartlepool visit the Banks's.
Up The Saddlers!
Date:Wednesday March 9 2011
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