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Oh so close

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Liberty Stadium

12-03-06 3pm

Attendance: 13262


Just two minutes of normal time and we conceed a deflected equaliser. A well earned draw feels like a heavy defeat. The lads looked like they had lost the FA Cup final with hands on knees and heads hung low.Yet the Libert standium was filled with Welsh relief and Saddlers applause, it is a result we would have settled for at 3pm.

Swansea started well and Fallons ability in the air causing concern with Trundles ability showing why Swansea are so potent going forward. Despite Swansea going close in the first 10 minutes it was the Saddlers that went ahead. Mark Wright went down under a challenge from Williams on the right. Williams was booked for dissent as he thought Wright went down to easy. Then for the first time a training ground move plays off, as Devlin pulls back off his marker to hit Simon Osborns free kick low into the net.

Both sides will then look back on chances to change the game, Swansea hit the post with Martinez failing to head into an empty net on the rebound.Also Fallon slid in on Robinsons left wing curling shot only to deflect it wide, where from our angle it looked like it would have gone in anyway.....cheers Rory. Walsall also had there chances the best falling to Barrowman who rounded Gueret in goal but his shot lacked the power to take it past Tate on the line. Swansea's defence also cleared off the line after Wright lobbed the keeper from distance, following Gyerets charge out of the area and poor clearence.

At half time Kenny Jacket brought on another striker Leon Knight for Britton. This was an attempt to open up our left hand side where James and stand in full back, midfielder Grant Smithhad shown a lack of ounderstanding and positional sense. However the defence without influential centre back Ian Roper stood firm.

Swansea, had the lions share of the ball in the second half but Walsall also had some clear chances to finish the game. Barrowman shot hard at the keeper whena pass through to Wright would have put him clear, can't blame a striker for shooting though. James beat the keeper only to see it go past the far post. But in the closing stages sub Scot Fitzgerald clean through turned back to beat Monk, but instead of pushing it and progressing into the box he went for the spectacular curling shot into the far corner, only to provide an easy save for Gueret. Minutes later Swansea equalised when a shot from outside the box from Akinfenwa was deflected and looped past Oakes into the net, 88th minute I ask you!

If this wasn't bad enough there was four minutes of added time and Walsall started to panic that they might lose and Swansea dominated the closing stages, but Walsall hung on for the point they deserved.

Star Player

No one played badly and everyone played there part in the result.Gerrard and Mills were solid, Pead and Smith struggled against some tricky play but stuck to there task well.
Midfield broke and fought well, James understanding with Smith caused concern early on, and Leary,Osborn and Wright were competitive, Upfront Devlin had agood game on his first full game capped with a goal. Barrowman still has question marks as to whetherhe will score the goals required but it was a better performance than recent games.
However my man of the match was Andy Oakes who despite recent critisim commanded his box as well as I have see of him for quite a while. He also caught the ball well under pressure and didn't punch which has cost us goals in the past, Barnsley and Stoke spring to mind. He also pulled off some good stops and wound up the Swans with some considered slow play.
Well played Andy

Manager Rating

Well oraganised, subsitutions didn't quite come off, but we have in the past wondered why subs have not been used so we can't have it both ways

Writer:Jorge's Jottings
Date:Monday March 13 2006
Time: 8:25AM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Sheff Utd 33 19 8 6 65 24
2 Scunthorpe 32 17 9 6 60 25
3 Bolton 31 17 7 7 58 19
4 Fleetwood 33 16 10 7 58 15
5 Southend 33 14 11 8 53 11
6 Bradford 33 12 16 5 52 11
7 Millwall 32 14 9 9 51 7
8 Rochdale 31 14 6 11 48 4
9 Peterborough 33 13 8 12 47 1
10 Oxford 31 13 7 11 46 5
11 Bristol Rovers 33 12 10 11 46 -2
12 Walsall 33 11 13 9 46 -2
13 Charlton 32 9 15 8 42 6
14 Wimbledon 32 9 13 10 40 0
15 Northampton 33 11 7 15 40 -4
16 MK Dons 32 10 9 13 39 0
17 Shrewsbury 33 10 8 15 38 -11
18 Gillingham 33 8 12 13 36 -10
19 Oldham 33 8 11 14 35 -12
20 Bury 33 9 7 17 34 -11
21 Port Vale 31 8 10 13 34 -16
22 Swindon 33 7 9 17 30 -18
23 Chesterfield 33 7 7 19 28 -21
24 Coventry 32 5 10 17 25 -21
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