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Stop the rot!

Nottingham Forest
1 - 1
Walsall

The City Ground

15/03/08

Attendance: 17177

Referee:

Walsall stopped their apparent rot and stayed in the play off zone for another week. With confidence sadly lacking, players looking fatigued and tired they faced a Forest team determined not to let go of their own automatic promotion hopes.

Richard Money employed a five man midfield in aide to adding steel to his defence that had looked so vunerable in the last two home matches. Forest included former Saddler Julian Bennett and they started the brightest and in the opening exchanges it took two smart saves from Clayton Ince to keep them away. With Tommy Mooney fighting alone up front it looked to be a long afternoon for the Saddlers' faithful. They forced their first corner after seventeen minutes.

Forest had much of the play but it was the Saddlers who should have taken the lead against the run of play. Rhys Weston took advantage of some hesistant defending to fire a ball across the box but Mooney failed to make a connection.

The second half was the same story for the Saddlers and they found themselves a goal down soon afterwards. A poor clearance was seized upon by McGugan who put the ball to the left flank to Tyson who set up the debuting Ormerod for an easy finish. A couple of minutes later it was deju vu but this time with the net waiting to bulge the ball hit sand in the goalmouth and Ormerod put his finish wide as the ball bounced up unexpectantly.

Forest were made to pay five minutes later. With the Saddlers looking devoid of ideas and creativity and with Mooney tiring. They managed one moment of quality, a brilliant cross by the returning Sonko was met at the back post by Mooney whose header deflected off Wilson and went into the net. Forest came back but the Saddlers had learned their lesson with Weston going tight on Tyson and Roper and Gerrard resolute together in the middle of the back four.

In truth the match could have gone either way with the Saddlers having the best chances to take all three points. It was disappointing to see Ince resorting to time wasting when the game was there to be won and a valuable three points gained.

With ten minutes left a fine Weston cross was met by the head of Bradley whose brilliant header hit the top of the Forest bar. Then in the closing moments Gerrard ran forward taking hold of a loose ball and ran towards goal, instead of passing the former Everton trainee went for glory but was tackled at the last minute.

The final whistle went with the boos of the Forest fans. The Saddlers fans sang 'you'll never beat the Saddlers' and for another season they didn't.. If the Saddlers do make the playoffs they could really do with meeting up again with our friends from Nottingham. Overall a greatly improved performance from the team and the fans who were applauded at the end by Richard Money.

Star Player

Clatyon Ince - two excellent saves in the opening exchanges and tremoudous catching and punching when tricky high balls were pumped into the penalty area. At one point Ince rose like a gazelle to take the ball even though he was being impeded by his own defender Ian Roper, a catch he took a hefty fall for. At fault last week for the opening goal and superb at Forest, Ince proves an enigma between the sticks.


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Writer:Alsop Richards
Date:Sunday March 16 2008
Time: 6:54PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
P Wigan 45 24 15 6 87 40
2 Burton 45 25 9 11 84 20
3 Walsall 45 23 12 10 81 17
4 Millwall 45 23 9 13 78 23
5 Bradford 45 22 11 12 77 13
6 Barnsley 45 21 8 16 71 13
7 Scunthorpe 45 20 11 14 71 11
8 Gillingham 45 19 12 14 69 16
9 Coventry 45 18 12 15 66 16
10 Sheff Utd 45 18 12 15 66 7
11 Rochdale 45 18 12 15 66 6
12 Port Vale 45 18 11 16 65 3
13 Peterborough 45 18 6 21 60 5
14 Southend 45 16 11 18 59 -5
15 Bury 45 15 12 18 57 -18
16 Swindon 45 15 11 19 56 -10
17 Oldham 45 12 18 15 54 -12
18 Chesterfield 45 15 8 22 53 -10
19 Shrewsbury 45 13 11 21 50 -18
20 Fleetwood 45 11 15 19 48 -6
21 Blackpool 45 12 10 23 46 -19
22 Doncaster 45 11 12 22 45 -16
R Colchester 45 9 13 23 40 -41
R Crewe 45 7 13 25 34 -35
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