Writer: Dan Malin
Date:Friday August 19 2011
We return to Fortress Bescot this Saturday on the back of two excellent away performances. A promising draw away at Hartlepool, albeit marred by a refereeing error, was followed by a spirited defeat at Bramall Lane and there are a lot of positives to take into the game against Yeovil tomorrow. We went to Sheffield and dominated the biggest club in the division for 70 minutes and, despite giving away a two-nil lead, we can go into the game against Yeovil full of confidence knowing we have the quality to mix it up with the best teams in the league.
Despite an impressive mid-week performance, we can`t go into the game against Yeovil thinking they are lesser opposition. They are established at this level and they are one of those clubs that just won`t go down. 6 years they have been among the favourites for relegation and for 6 years they have made those predictions look ridiculous. As well as five solid, mid-table places they also finished among the play-off places in 06/07 and that says to me they are a side who knows how to get results in this division. In recent history, no matter who comes up or goes down, Yeovil are always there picking up points and they are exactly the kind of team who could dent our early good form. As well as being an annoyingly persistent opponent they are also responsible for providing the other 11 men for the worst game of football I have ever witnessed. In 2010, a blizzard-ridden February night at the Banks` stadium was the stage where 22 men could muster just one shot, which ex-Walsall loanee Sam Williams scored for the visitors, and the standard of play was just about the worst showing I`ve ever seen from 2 professional clubs. Darren Byfield and Julian Gray showed complete disregard for the general idea of running towards the ball, favouring instead to try and merge into one "super-player" named either Julian Byfield or Darren Gray. For anyone who wants to repeat this incredible transformation, simply stand 30 metres away from the person you wish to merge with and run full speed at each other. If there is a football between you simply ignore it as though it does not exist and proceed to slam into each other at a ridiculous speed before lying half-unconscious on the floor.
Those are not happy memories so hopefully this Saturday will dispel them from my mind for good. Since we came back up to League One, we have only lost to Yeovil twice and I can`t see us losing that record just yet. Anton Peterlin has been given the chance to step into Adam Chambers` boots and he`s taken it with both hands. I didn`t go to the game in Hartlepool last week but at Sheffield he was the best player on the pitch, in the first half, and showed why Smith took the American on board; instead of one of the more experienced players who were available. He was the only player who can claim to have played well against Middlesbrough, and again at Sheffield United, and it is very encouraging to see Deano has added real depth to the side which was not there before this season. After years of having a thread-bare squad, it is nice to see a Walsall manager finally has a selection problem as I can`t see how he can drop Anton or Taundry when Chambers returns against Bournemouth. However, that particular dilemma comes after the immediate task of beating a solid Yeovil Town and the lads will have been spending the week watching videos of how similar teams to ourselves, such as the MK Dons, Exeter and Brentford, have already beaten The Glovers this season. Part of the Deano regime is being fully prepared for the next team we face and I expect this to be exactly the same so, on that basis, I will go for a 1-0 win and another reason to get excited about the season that lies before us. Will Grigg got off the mark against Sheffield United and I would be surprised if he did not build on that this Saturday so I`ll back him to get the goal and generally show the faithful just why he`s keeping, the more experienced, Ryan Jarvis out of the side. Come on you Reds!!!
Date:Friday August 19 2011
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