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Saddlers v Peterborough

Peterborough vs. Walsall

1st January 2007
Result O:2

I knew this was going to be a tough assignment for the Super Saddlers, to be
fair I would have accepted a point beforehand and that was just the result I
was expecting to get. The Posh had been unlucky to leave pointless from
Victoria Park on the Saturday against an ever improving Hartlepool side. The
Walsall team remained unchanged from being punished in the last minute by
Bristol Rovers.

But Posh on paper were full of quality and the Saddlers have struggled
against lesser fair this season. They included new loan signing Gavin
Strachan, the impressive new signing of Aaron MaClean from Grays Athletic
and the promising Danny Crow. The Walsall back four were going to be in
serious trouble if they weren't fully at the races.

The match started with the Saddlers on the back foot as Peterborough seemed
to get behind the Walsall back four at will. But after getting through the
first ten minutes, Walsall found composure, got the ball on the ground and
for the first time in ages took the game to the opposition. The Walsall side
pushed forward with a confidence that had been missing since their early
form of the season. This led to the opening goal on fifteen minutes when
Butler dribbled past a worried Posh defence only to be hacked down from what
appeared to be the last man. The result from a Referee who was clearly
suffering from over indulgence over the Christmas season was a yellow card,
though the tackle did seem more clumsy than reckless. Fox ran up and
thumped the ball past the helpless Paul Rachukba who didn't even move.

Posh were stunned, the Walsall team were stunned, the fans may have been
stunned, but the Saddlers were in the lead and had the kind of appetite for
this match that they weren't going to give it up wiithout a fight. Excecting
the usual retreat into their own box, Walsall surprised most of the Bescot
faithful by continuing to threaten the home goal. This led to goal two,
contender for 'goal of the season' from Chris Westwood. Dobson floated the
ball into the box for Fox to head across and for Westwood to hook an
unstoppable left foot volley into the top left corner of the net. It was at
this point I felt it was appropriate to pinch myself, was it just a dream?

The Saddlers then went on to play real football and to inspire chants from
the crowd of 'just like watching Brazil', to be honest I saw Brazil in the
World Cup in the Summer and they weren't this good. Peterborough managed to
claw their way back into the game and should have got one back before the
interval from Crow who was stunned to see Ince excellently save his low
drive across the goal. But the Saddlers knew the importance of getting to
half-time with a clean sheet and with drive and determination and non-stop
concentration they did it.

The Second half was always going to be a more drab affair, Keith Alexander
did his best impression of Jose Mourinho by putting four strikers on the
pitch. MaClean, Crow, Benjamin and Yeo but with the excellent Dann and Roper
and a man of the match performance by Dobson protecting them, it wouldn't
have mattered if they'd have had ten strikers, they just weren't going to
get through.

Hector Sam excellent in the first-half faded badly to the point where he got
himself into a promising position in the Posh penalty area only to linger to
long on the ball, get dispossed and then to the embarrassment of the away
supporters fall to the ground like he'd been hit by a sniper. A rightful
yellow card if ever there was one. But there is one thing currently worse
than 'Sam off his game' and that has to be Mr. Tony Bedeau, who always seems
to make the wrong decision or pass and clearly has no confidence. I think
there may be a trip to Aggborough coming up very soon for the once skillful
ex-Torquay man.

Walsall saw it through and if it wasn't for an excellent save from Rachukba
could have had three. On a day when all the teams at the top struggled,
Walsall paired steel and determination with quality in their play to garner
an easy three points. Winning this division isn't going to be easy, but it
will be if the Saddlers keep this level of performance up, a team to be
proud of.

Alsop Richards.




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The Journalist

Writer: Jorge's Jottings Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday January 3 2007

Time: 7:43AM

Your Comments

Quality goals, Peterborough....can we play you every week
Big No 9
 

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