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Port Vale


Sat 15th April 2006 3pm

Attendance: 4876


They say that you make your own luck, and they say things go against you when you are at the bottom. Well we are still waiting for our slice of luck this season. Since things very much went against us on Saturday.

After having a goal which had clearly crossed the line disallowed against Bournemouth on tuesday we had hoped for some fair play from Mr Foy and his officials. However two mistakes from the reffering team could have put the final nail in our coffin.

First the 86th minute equaliser was claimed to be offside by many closer to the action than myself and the Walsall bench were angered by the decision. Then we had Andrew Barrowmans goal ruled out due to an foul on Vale keeper Mark Goodlad, when in fact he was 'fouled' by his own defender. KB in his post match comments was convinced both decisions should have gone in Walsall's favour, and the players made there feelings known to the ref as he left the pitch. Another incident that went unpunished was a hand ball in the area by the vale fullback whilst on the ground, however Mr Foy and team were all unsighted so they have an excuse for that one, although the frustration led to a rash tackle which Constable rightly got booked.

Whilst the game centred around these key moments the rest of the match was very much unforgetable. The first half was poor with Walsalls visable lack of confidence causing rushed play, Vale were little different to be honest.

Port Vale who brought on World cup hopeful Hector Sam at half time,started the second half slowly and fell behind to a 50 minute James Constable, after a good tackle by Dean Keates led to us getting behind the Vale back four for the first time. After that Walsall were very much more comfortable and despite nerves causing us to defend a bit too deep for my liking. However we never produced the killer ball which in the end is what cost us a second goal and the win that on the balance of play we just deserved.

Star Player

Chris Westwood,whilst there are other contenders, Westwood who has had plenty of stick from the saddlers faithful at last showed something like his Hartlepool form. Interesting that it was along side a big commanding centre half in Pablo Mills. His only blot was a ineffective header which contributed to the goal.

Player Ratings

Andy Oakes

Little to do really and what he did do he did well enough, had little chance with the goal.

Craig Pead

On his return to the first team produced a solid if unspectacular performance, can't ask for more at this stage. His lack of pace means he is not as effective going forward though.

Chris Westwood

My Star man, more performances like this and he may well win over the Bescot boo boys.

Pablo Mills

Ran Westwood close to man of the match as they kept, Hector Sam and Leon Constantine in their pockets for the majority of the match.

Daniel Fox

The goal came from his side and he found world cup winger Chris Birchall a handful at times, again a steady performance, seems to be feeling the pressure more than some.

Micheal Leary

Played wide of midfield, and contributed little going forward, one of his poorer games in a saddlers shirt. Came off on the 76 minute.

Simon Osborn

Solid game, looks more comfortable sitting in front of the defence rather in the middle of a flat midfield, as he did today. Taken off after the goal to get another striker on.

Dean Keates

Captain Deano, gave 100% and his tackling provided the goal, but can't find the telling pass to serve the strikers.

Grant Smith

Out wide the position which lead to his release from Bristol, Like Leary provided little attacking flair was we rarly got at the Vale full backs.

Steve Claridge

Held the ball up well but the midfield seemed slow in supporting him so had few options. He always gives 100% but the situation means we need to see some goals. He's experience was vital in talking Constable through the game.

James Constable

What a difference a goal makes, looked much more a handful after his strike, more willing to take a risk and take his man on. Hopefully he can take this form into the remaining games.

Micheal Standing

By his own confession has not been fit all season but his introduction brought some composure to the midfield play. Worth a start a Donny I think.

Andrew Barrowman

Took his 'goal' well pity Mr Foy had a differnt veiw on proceedings. Another player who will benifit from having Claridge in the ranks.

Manager Rating

KB has recieved hate mail from some disgruntled saddlers fans. Need to remember they aren't his players and his doing his best, we need to pull together now.

Opponent Rating

Big broad smile when there goal went in didn't go down to well with me.

Writer:Jorge's Jottings
Date:Sunday April 16 2006
Time: 9:23AM

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Big shame mate, but i can sympathise with you re the luck. Following a team thats generally languishing in the nether regions of whatever league we are in, it never ceases to amaze me how many 'decisions' the top clubs get.
03/05/2006 01:46:00
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