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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Southend 0 0 - Walsall 0 0

Roots Hall

Sat 25th Feb 2006 3pm KO

Attendance: 7906

We've got our Walsall Back

As the 242 Saddlers who braved the journey to a rather cold and windy Southend sang 'we've got our Walsal back'. The reason for this was not so much the brave point earned at the home of the league one divisional leaders it was the way we did it. The performance was more of the old Walsall, organised, disciplined and determined. Whilst it would be foolish to think that our problems are over. But it is a glimpse of the way out of trouble.
Both sides had there chances and in fact Oakes made at least three fantastic saves as he was the bussier of the two keepers. The strong wind made fools out of players of both sides as the wind grab hold of passes sending them often wide of there targets. Eventually both sides came to grips with the conditions. Southend were further hindered by losing two players to injury in Spencer Prior and Mitchell Cole, however the replacements that came on did quite well.
From Walsalls perspective it was disappointing that Ian Roper picked up a booking for a needless tackle which means he has reached 5 and so misses the crunch game against Bournemouth. Plus points were numerous, with Walsall looking more comfortable with the 4-4-2 rather than the 5-3-2 of last week.The team looked solid and capable of holding there own against the league leaders. In fact if it wasn't for the lack of a forward cutting edge it is a game we could have won. It is the forward line which will send us down if a solution to that and the creative side isn't found. It was also good to see good use of subsitutions, James comming on for the inaffective Fitzgerald (68) and Constable comming on for Barrowman later(85)As the game was closing Oleary came on for Wright to strenghten the defensive cover on the righthand side.
Southend will look at missed chances and see 2 points lost, Saddlers will see hope and a point gained and a chance spurned in the last kick of the game to snatch all 3 points.

Star Player

Andy Oakes
Match preview said he was the man to watch, and he gave a assured preformance and made some fine stops,one of his best games in a Walsall shirt.

Player Ratings

Craig Pead

Given a tough time against Mark Gower but stood up well

Anthony Gerrard

Rock solid at the back and had a late header stopped on the line by shrimpers goalkeeper Flahaven

Ian Roper

Does what it says on the tin....centre half, fought for everything worked hard against Goater and Bradbury. Dived in on the edge of the box to earn 5th booking of the season the only negative.

Grant Smith

Playing left back (why didn't he play there last week) and did a sound job although come back Foxy. Never backed out of a challenge although his positional sense was found lacking, but playing out of position is an excuse.

Mark Wright

Back to right wing, it will be interesting to see if he keeps his place next week when Devlin returns. Mark was his usual frustrating self, some of our best attacking work came through him but equally also failed to deliver in some good positions.

Simon Osborn

A performance more like the start of the season rather than the ones we have seen of late much more involved and was organising people arround him again, A return to form could be key to our season.

Pablo Mills

Playing central midfield was strong in the air and tackle but offered less when comming forward. Would expect him to be at centre half next week against Bournemouth.

Dean Keates

Playing wide left offered good cover to Grant Smith at left back, tended to drift inside rather than offer much of an outlet down the wing.

Scott Fitzgerald

Offered litle seemed to want to be in the same spaces occupied by Barrowman, looked a litle lost at times. However he seemed brighter in the box it is just the ball wasnt in there enough...reserve judgement until we start creating chances he may be a player to finish rather than create.

Andrew Barrowman

Worked harder than his strike partner but failed to create much, latched onto one good pass to draw a good save from Flahavan

Kevin James

Again seems frustrated when he doesn't get the right type of service. His pace freightened the hell out of Southends defence, He almost crafted a last minute winner for Mills with his pace and skill.

James Constable

Good to see him back from injury but offered litle more than Barrowman or Fitzgerald.

Kevin Oleary

Short appearence in which he did the job that was asked, namely shut out the right hand wing

Manager Rating

Kevan Broadhurst, returned to 4-4-2 and used his subs well, team was consistant can't ask for more from a first showing.
We have got our Walsall back

Managers Quotes

'In some ways it was easier facing Southend who are a very good side and at the top of the table because no one expected us to get anything here'
'I was please with 90% of it. I thought the players were magnificent'
'Next week against Bournemouth people will be expecting us to win'

Saddlers Backing

The 242 fans that travelled were magnificent...out sung the Southend fans in the 7906 crowd. It is a shame that we can't get the same level of commitment at Bescot, the place would rock

Main worry

The strikers they didn't look like a parternship, and without goals we may struggle to turn draws into wins. Although service wasn't great it is hoped that next week we have a bit more forward creativity.

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The Journalist

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

Date:Sunday February 26 2006

Time: 9:43AM


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