Walsall 0-2 Swindon - Match Report
Walsall 0-2 Swindon
Making my way to Bescot yesterday, I was consoled by one thought...'It can't be any worse than Tuesday'. To be fair, it wasn't. But it wasn't exactly a million miles better either. Deano rewarded Grigg for his goal in midweek by recalling him in place of top scorer Bowerman, Sam Mantom marked his return to the club by coming in for Jake Jones, and Malvind Benning came in for his full debut in place of James Chambers, with Taundry shuffling across to right back.
The main difference between Tuesday and yesterday was expectation. On Tuesday many of the Bescot faithful believed we'd win which just made everything worse, whereas yesterday I think most expected us to lose so the result was slightly more expected. Still, we could live in hope that we'd come flying out the blocks, apply some early pressure, possibly nick a goal and build some much needed confidence.
So, naturally, the last thing we needed was to fall behind after 56 seconds. A giant Taundry shaped hole appeared on the right hand side of our defence allowing their left winger to pick out Simon Ferry who blasted home from just inside the area.
Paterson came close to equalising a couple of minutes later, with an effort that may have been further wide than it looked. But that was as good as it got and we really could have gone into the break further behind as Grof pulled off a smart stop at his near post and then Taundry made a block inside the 6 yard box to deny a certain goal. Grof was being put under unnecessary pressure through a number of questionable back passes, and he almost made a calamity of one of them when he played a square ball across to the already marked Featherstone, but again we just about survived.
The second half began with Swindon still on top, with Benning clearing off the line to keep the score to one. The left back was having an impressive debut and drew a top drawer save from Foderingham in the Swindon goal who adjusted his feet well to push wide his deflected effort. It brought about our best spell of the game, with the keeper making an 'easier than he needed to make it look' save from a Paterson free kick to earn us a corner.
But from the resulting corner Swindon broke away and we were 2-0 down and the game was over.
Further questions will be asked however with regards to Deano's substitutions. Prior to the second goal Brandy had already taken to the field to replace Baxendale, who didn't have his best game, but even when chasing the match our top scorer remained on the bench. You could possibly be forgiven for thinking Deano had given up the ghost and was writing the game off, but the introduction of Bowerman with 7 minutes to go and a switch to 4-4-2 smacked of the fact he was still trying to get something from it. If that's the case, it makes the changes and timings of them even more baffling.
I don't usually put much emphasis on cup games, but a result on Tuesday against Lincoln feels vital. Right now we need a win from anywhere, and defeat at home to a non-league club could do untold damage to an already demoralised side. Lincoln has suddenly become must win, but I'm far from convinced that we actually will.