Colchester 1-1 Walsall - Report
Since the end of August, Walsall fans have questioned the current striker force and two months later we now have scored only 12 goals in 11 league games, which is frankly poor and the presence of a real goalscorer would have been the difference again today as the visitors managed 18 shots on target to Colchesters 9.
Dean Smith made two changes from the side that lost to Bradford last weekend. With James Baxendale coming in for Troy Hewitt and one enforced change with Ashley Hemmings replacing Milan Lalkovic who was on international duty.
After just 6 minutes, Walsall could have been two up as Sam Mantom, Ashley Hemmings and Craig Westcarr all went close to the frustration of the home side. However it was the home side that were ahead just one minute later....An unmarked Freddie Sears unleashed a powerful shot which Richard O'Donnell had no chance of keeping out.
After their goal it turned into a scene out the Alamo, as Walsall continued their onslaught on the Colchester goal but just couldn't find an end product.
James Baxendale found space from nowhere and his shot smashed against the home sides crossbar and was finally cleared for a corner. Three corners in succession saw a Butler header from close range easily claimed by Colchester 'keeper Walker.
On 40 minutes Sam Mantom shot was blocked following great work by Craig Westcarr, with half time approaching you got a sense of déjà vu as Walsall continued to dominate play but couldn't find the end product. Then just two minutes later Sam Mantom had another effort on goal which hit the upright from 25 yards - it felt like it was going to be one of those days....
Just seconds into the second half, Ashley Hemmings tested Walker but his shot was easily claimed.
On 75 minutes, Dean Smith introduced Julian Gray for his first game during his second spell and Romaine Sawyers also came on for Baxendale and Featherstone respectively.
An Ashley Hemmings free kick found the head of Adam Chambers but despite having all the time and space, the General failed to find the net to the anguish of the 244 travelling fans.
The third official signalled an additional 5 minutes, yet just into the 6th minute of added on time Walsall were given a free kick around 25 yards out...which Andy Taylor stepped up to take and the popular left back found the top corner and sent the travelling faithful into raptures as Walsall finally found a breakthrough.
Let's not hide behind the facts, Walsall would have won today had we invested some of the Paterson and Grigg money into a natural goalscorer. This season COULD be a special one if someone dipped into their pockets...over to you JB.