Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Saturday April 30 2011
The Saddlers turned out for the game today against the Addicks in fine form and did not stop shining all day to secure a vital 2-0 win. They then came back out on the pitch to toast the last game of the season to delighted fans.
They gave an energetic, lively and ambitious display, kept a clean sheet with Grigg and Gray hitting the score sheet.
Smith had announced an extremely rare identical team to the one that drew with Oldham Athletic. After 2 draws over easter, this win was well due.
The game started with a bang as Saddlers set their intentions straight from the start, Charlton were behind the pace as they had nothing left to play for in league one.
The opening goal was long coming as Walsall had many attempts and chances but the ball didn't quite make it to the goal.
On 8 minutes, Macken smacked the ball into the post and it just edged wide as Jordan Cook picked up the rebound.
The Sunderland loanee then had a good chance on 15 minutes but the ball was saved by Addicks goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
Good passing by Richards, Laird, Macken ended in a shot that was easily scooped up.
On minute 34, Walsall got their goal. Richard Taundry sent a neat pass into the area and Will Grigg expertly slotted the ball home. 1-0. A 4th goal for the 19 year old and the Banks's roared into delight. Game on!
Walker then made a good save as Racon beckoned before Macken set up Matthew Richards, but his fine strike was pushed away by Elliot on the stroke of half time.
The second half came and it was certainly more of the same please, something that has seldom been expected this season, but today it felt apt.
Gray opened proceedings with a fine chance but his effort went wide.
Macken had his shot blocked on 55 minutes but the shot was defended away.
Saddlers were unlucky 5 minutes later when Cook's shot from Grigg struck the bar and Richards rebound went inches wide. The midfielder is hunting his 10th goal of the season.
Macken went down with injury a few minutes later but soon got back up.
The striker had a good chance after solid work by Gray and Grigg but he failed to take advantage.
Gray fired just wide on 71 minutes in another excellent effort.
Goal scorer Grigg was then given a standing ovation as he made way for Darren Byfield. It tops off an excellent season for him and is a huge future prospect.
Saddlers got their second goal on 67 minutes as Gray kept his cool to slot the ball home. Macken had an effort pushed out by Elliot but Gray was their to breeze the ball into the net. 2-0. The game was ours and all the previous nervous tension dissipated from the Banks's.
It was easy playing as the remaining minutes were played out, Walsall did not take their foot off the gas until the final whistle.
Macken left the field on 81 minutes and Nicholls made his entrance for the first time since March 12th.
Darren Byfield and Gray both had attempts on goal late on but to everyone's relief the whistle blew after 4 minutes of added time.
Andy Butler was given the sponsors Man of The Match Award after another good 90 minutes.
The time came for the traditional lap of honour for the Saddlers, marking the last home game of the season. The Saddler fans stormed the pitch at the final whistle but the triumphant players came out once they had retreated back to the stands. The players were applauded by the delighted supporters after a tumultuous season. Some of the players were also joined by their young children.
It was a great end to the season of highs and lows at the Banks's.The Saddlers remain out of the relegation zone and head to Southampton next week to finish the season.
Up The Saddlers!
Date:Saturday April 30 2011
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