7th September @3pm
The weather nearly put pay to the game and only numerous pitch inspections and hard work by the ground staff made the pitch playable...I bet Walsall wish they hadn't bothered as they turned in a weak performance. Post match manager Jimmy Mullen was critical of poor decision making and defending as well as failing to make the right impression in the final third.
From Walsall's point of view non of the injured players who were close to return made the squad noticable absences were Mattis in midfield and Weston in defence although Roberts played despite been injured. In fact it was the withdrawal of Roberts with injury following the loss of Captain Stephen Hughes again with injury that gave Orient the momentum.In fact Roberts replacement Smith was partially to blame for the first Orient goal, he is young and will get better but perhaps a look at the loan market is required to take him out of the firing line at present. As for Bradley he failed to make the same impression as he did last season in his cameo role.
However credit to Orient who came to do a job on us and they carried out there plan in style and could have caught us on the break a couple of times in the first half, as Walsall struggled to break down a well marshalled Orient back line, although a stronger ref might have penalised the two centre halfs, but thats football.
The two second half goals were a disappointment especially when Terry converted Boyds pull back in there first meaning full attack of the second half in the 73 minute. Boyd settled the game seven minutes later converting a stonewall penalty won by JJ Melligan.
Walsall had there chances but as Jimmy said afterwards made some poor choices with Ishmel twice firing high and wide where a simple pass would have left Jabo then Ricketts with simple chances. Gerrard managed to put a free header wide when he looked certain to score. Also sub Ricketts decided to shoot first time when he had time to compose himself.
Orient however also had chances mainly in the first half where Clayton Ince came to the rescue, tipping shots from Melligan and Boyd wide.
So what have we learnt...well the squad isn't strong enough in depth and can not cope with the injuries we have at the moment. In the striking department, Ishmel is still learning the role and Jabo and Ricketts have not played together enough to get an understanding, a so called fox in the box would be most welcome. In centre of defense it is unfair to expose Manny Smith to first team football as he isn't ready yet.