The Banks' Stadium
Walsall lost just as they did nearly a year ago one nil to our friends from the Gypsy Camp. But there was real signs of optimism for Saddlers fans as their performance warranted merit for guile, determination, work effort and for the football they played. Saddlers started with gilmartin in goal, Weston, Sansara, Hughes (Capt), Smith, Mattis, O'Keefe, Till (Trailist), Taundry with Parkin and Nicholls up front. Wolves had the core of their Premiership side, Hennessy, Hill, Steadman, Craddock, Balde (Trialist), Henry, Surman, Halford, Friend with Keogh and Sylvain-Banks up front.
The Saddlers struggled in the opening exchanges seemingly in awe of their Premiership opposition. The ball was given away cheeply added with the Saddlers sitting back. Saddlers could have feared the worst when a half cleared header was seized upon by former loan Saddler Andrew Surman whose deflected effort cruelly flew past Gilmartin. But as the match went on the Saddlers grew in confidence and finally got the ball on the floor. Taundry worked industriously on the right wing and worked good opportunities for himself. O'Keefe just as he did at the Don Valley Stadium was struggling in central midfield - he just looks out-of-place but hopefully he can settle down soon. Till on trial drifted in and out of the match for long periods just as he did previously on Saturday and it needs to be rememberd that despite the opportunites he craves out for himself he once again failed to deliever one telling ball - Till will struggle for another chance with the Saddlers. The down point was a rash late tackle from Surman that left Sansara in pain and replaced by Jamie Vincent.
The second half was one of Saddlers' domination despite fielding a number of their younger players. Adkins looked at home on the right wing and the Saddlers' looked a different proposition all together with Denney working as a target man. Denney is still thriving on the confidence given to him from the goals of the second half of last season. The Saddlers should have equalised in the opening stages a clever free kick on the right was left by Denney and fell into the path of Parkin the big man should have scored with the time he had but clipped his effort against the post. Wolves seemingly couldn't muster another attack and the Saddlers played the ball around the deck against their Premiership opposition. Chances were always going to be at a premium but it was the Saddlers who should have equalised with ten minutes to go but Hennessy saved well when Grigg went one on one with the Welsh man. Then agonisingly in the last moments a quality cross from Adkins was met by the head of Denney but his flick header was saved by Hennessy once again.
It's worth remembering despite a nervous take at the feet of Keough - Clayton Ince was nothing but a spectator in the second half and except for picking the ball out of his net so was Gilmartin in the first half. There was also another twenty minutes under the belt of the recovering Roberts. A younger, fitter, better organised and harder working outfit than Jimmy Mullens talented rabble of a year ago and a vast improvment in the football being played. Sorry note was the poor attendance from Walsall fans.