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Boo Barry Match

Walsall
2 - 3
Aston Villa

The Banks' Stadium

22/07/08 : 19.45

Attendance: 5031

Referee:

In a match that seemed built around want-way midfielder Gareth Barry, Walsall came away with a good workout as they prepare for the opening of their new season.

The Saddlers adopted a four,four,two system with Ince in goal and a back four of Palmer, Gerrard, Roberts and Sansara. A midfield of Nicholls, Bradley, Mattis and Zaroube and up front Ibhere and Ba. Villa fielded a young side with the fluttering of expensive prized players such as Harewood, Barry, Routledge and Maloney.

The Banks' pitch was fantastic on the newly laid surface and both sides immediately made their intentions clear with every touch from Barry booed by his own faithful. The first half was lit by a fantastic fingertip save from Clayton Ince and a terrible miss by Harewood as he raced down on Ince's goal.

Walsall were playing direct from the back with good distribrution particulary from Palmer at right back. The long balls were taken on by Ba and Ibere who both acted in a similair role as target man and neither seemed to gel together. The midfield worked tirelessly to get the ball to the flanks and Nicholls inparticulary put in some good crosses from the flanks.

It was a mistake that saw Walsall take the lead on the stroke of half time. A low pass into the path of Nicholls was poorly dealt with by the onrushing Villa goalkeeper and Nicholls took hold of the loose ball to roll the ball into the empty net from distance.

Walsall started the second half with a degree of control over the match, but this was disrupted by a poor foul given away by Palmer on the edge of the area. This was instantly punished by Malonely who floated the ball into the top left hand corner of the net to draw the sides level.

Walsall continued to press back for the lead and they were soon rewarded, a lovely move saw a deep cross to the back post placed back into the area by Demontagnac for trialist Suffo to slide the ball into the net. Suffo had come on for the tiring Ba and looked to have an assured touch but looked to be lacking match sharpness in certain patches of the match.

In the closing stages Mullen decided to take off the outstanding Ince and replace him with rookie Rene Gilmartin. Five minutes a fluffed dfelcted shot from Villa was split by the young Irish man and Malonely followed up to equlaise. With Villa now dominant after their gifted equaliser it was no surprise when they won the match with four minutes to go. A high cross to the back post was smashed into the roof of the net by the onrushing Wayne Routledge with full aplomb.

All in all a good work out for the Saddlers which was noted by the absences of Anthony Grant (injured), Richard Taundry (injured), Reich (?), Rhy Weston and Paul Boertian. In the latter stages of the match Mark Bradley was replaced by Keegan Ayre who showed some assured touches on the ball.

Star Player

Clayton Ince pulled off some fantastic saves and he was fully deserving of the chants of 'sign him up' from the Villa fans. I can't help thinking if the big Trindadian hadn't of gone off that the result would have been different but at the end of the day it's only a friendly.


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Writer:Alsop Richards
Date:Wednesday July 23 2008
Time: 11:10AM

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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 Millwall 45 23 9 13 78 23
4 Walsall 44 22 12 10 78 15
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 44 11 15 18 48 -4
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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