Writer: Robyn Richards
Date:Wednesday December 14 2011
Being a Walsall supporter is hard enough at times, but losing on penalties after 2 HOURS of football on a freezing night at the Banks's is about as low as it can get.
Walsall succumbed to a second round replay after a dismal 0-0 draw at Dagenham and Redbridge and showed up at the Banks's to finally do the deed and get to the third round.
However, Walsall failed to find the back of the net from a mediocre performance against equally mediocre league two opposition.
The first half opened as it meant to go on, little punch or spark from the hosts with no real creativity. The only real highlight came when Jamie Paterson got hold of the ball but fluffed his lines on delivery.
The second half came as many warm foods and hot drinks were consumed to get supporters through the final 45 minutes, with hopes held high that a cold evening spent at the Banks's would be worth it.
However, no real action could be seen in the second half either. Still nothing.
Saddlers had to battle on with ten men for the remaining 12 minutes of normal time when Manny Smith suffered a serious head injury in a clash with a (Dagger player.) The defender was kicked in the head after a corner and crashed to the ground, motionless and bleeding. Medical staff rushed onto the pitch to treat him and he was stretchered off after more than 10 minutes of treatment. Fingers crossed he will be OK. Get Well Soon Manny!
Hopes and prayers for a goal at the end were said but full time soon came and 30 minutes extra time was to come around once again. Suprise suprise, Still nothing.
Claude Gnapka had the best chance for the Saddlers but Adam Chambers finish was drab at best.
So, another day, another penalty shoot-out. It has been just 10 weeks since the last shoot out in the JPT, which they lost 3-1 on penalties to Rochdale. A little optimism but not enough for Saddlers to be glad about.
The penalties went like this: Jon Macken scored, Michael Spillance scored, Alex Nicholls missed, Richard Rose missed, Claude Gnapka missed, Medy Elito scored, George Bowerman scored. Brian Woodall scored. Even the penalties were poor!
So Dagenham won and it was the cold, harsh reality of being a Saddler fan felt.
The reason behind the poor performance is unclear, but I get the feeling the players don't really care whether they win or lose. It will be win to great but a league one team exiting in the third round is nothing unsuprising. Survival in League One is obviously paramount to supporters and players alike and, even though it was a low 1706 Saddler attendance (96 away,) everyone was still behind them 100% to win, play Milwall in the third round and be proud to see them battling it out with the bigger teams. However,now they just have to reflect why they bothered attending last night and look ahead to the weekend's clash with Chesterfield and goodness knows what performance they might bring.
Anyhow, onwards and upwards, it can not get much worse than this!
Up The Saddlers!
Date:Wednesday December 14 2011
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