Walsall 0-3 MK Dons
08/02/2014 - 15:00
Walsall`s unbeaten start to 2014 was brought to an abrupt end as we produced a performance that was almost as wet and depressing as the weather, which left all Saddlers fans wondering why The Football League couldn`t have done us a favour and rescheduled this one too.
We can have few complaints as the visitors, with the wind behind them for much of the first half, adapted better to the appalling conditions than we did, and went on to comprehensively outplay us for the opening 45 minutes.
The 'highlight` of the first half from a Walsall perspective, if you can call it that, was the minutes applause for ex-Saddler Kris Taylor, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last Friday. All at Vital Walsall wish him a full and speedy recovery. And as much as I hate everything about MK Dons and what the club stands for, respect for their fans who joined in the support for our former left back.
On the subject of hating everything about MK Dons, it brings me nicely on to Izale McLeod, who ever since he got Danny Hay sent off playing for Derby all those years ago, has earned a special place alongside the likes of Keigan Parker of cheating, diving, dirty opposition players I absolutely despise.
Today though, to be fair, he was immense and ran us ragged. He took both his goals well and won the penalty that saw Andy Butler dismissed on the stroke of half time. His first goal was a cheeky lob after he`d, according to the linesman at least, beaten our offside trap to go through one on one with Richard O`Donnell. Then the penalty award came and, being brutally honest, we can have no complaints with the outcome. It was a foul, Butler was the last man, and he had to walk. Not even Butler is getting this one overturned.
The Saddlers to their credit did at least attempt to make a game of it in the second half. Mantom held the middle of the park on his own, Ben Purkiss moved to centre back and Adam Chambers did a passable impression of his twin brother by moving to right back. We tried to get back to our normal game, but by that time we`d given ourselves too much to do and we`re still struggling to create clear cut goal scoring chances.
Any hope we did have of nicking a goal and clawing our way back into the game ended with 20 minutes to go when another excellent MK through ball found McLeod who produced another superb finish to put the game to bed. And our misery was complete in the final moments when on-loan striker Michael Ngoo struck a weak penalty that was kept out by visiting keeper David Martin.
The result puts us seventh in the table, two points behind Peterborough who have played a game more, ahead of our trip to London Road on Friday. It almost becomes must win.