Dan's View on Middlesbrough Defeat
I feel fairly confident in my ability to speak for all Walsall fans when I say that Mr Darren Deadman and co. completely ruined last night. What should have been a good spectacle and a chance to see a potentially, remarkable giant killing was completely and utterly ruined by the officials and they should be ashamed of their performances. They are paid to pass impartial, calculated judgement on a football match and if last night passes for an acceptable standard of officiating then I`ll immediately volunteer my half-eaten ham sandwich to referee the game against Hartlepool.
For all my grievances, I could have no complaints about the red card or the score-line. Boro were far and away the better team and a player of Chambers experience should know you simply cannot lunge in with 2 feet. Whether you win the ball or not it is a straight red card no matter who is reffing the game. What I do take issue with is when Adam Chambers is blatantly kicked in the head and yet there is no sanction for such a violent reaction. It was a poor challenge; I would have been angry with Chambers if he`d have gone in on me or any of my team-mates like that but kicking another human being in the head is inexcusable and was equally deserving of a straight red card and further disciplinary action after the game. Admittedly, I probably had the best seat in the house for the incident. I am fortunate enough to have a season ticket on the half-way line in the family stand and, therefore, I was well placed to see all of it. The referee could not have seen the kick but the linesman most certainly could and, although it is admirable that the FA would employ a blind assistant referee in the interest of equality, he is probably pursuing the wrong career path.
All my ranting aside, there could be no arguments about the score. What was a difficult task with 11 men quickly became a colossal task with 10 and Middlesbrough really made the advantage tell. They passed the ball brilliantly, exploited the space well and kept us on the back foot for the 75 minutes after Chambers` dismissal and that has to be applauded. Marvin Emnes looks far too good to be playing in the first round of the Carling Cup and it`s hard to believe he`ll be a Middlesbrough player for the next 3 years; contract extension or no contract extension. As much as I hate the fact he single-handedly outplayed us, the Dutchman looks like an incredibly talented young man and his second goal was probably the second best goal we`ll see all season.
Another lad who stood out for me was Merouane Zemmama. Yet another player signed from the SPL, the Moroccan looks like an absolutely steal at just £200,000 in January. Signed from Hibs, the midfielder showed some glimpses of real quality last night and it was a shame he got taken off after just half an hour because he and Emnes were the only things worth watching.
Short of going mad at the referee for not stopping play when our captain and most influential player has a head injury, giving them a daft penalty and generally incensing every Walsall fan in the ground, there`s not much else to say about last night. The better team (Marvin Emnes FC) won and we now go to Hartlepool, Sheffield United and host Yeovil without Adam Chambers. Let`s just hope Anton Peterlin can build on, what I thought was, a promising first competitive game for the club and step up to fill in the massive hole that Chambers has left.