Scunthorpe United 2-1 Walsall
30/08/2014 - 15:00
The Saddlers winless start to the season continued with a disappointing defeat at Glanford Park.
A change of formation and a different style of play were chosen to accommodate new signing Mathieu Manset, the man signed because he fits into the way we play, but our existing problems remained and we also created new ones for ourselves on an afternoon that again produced more questions than it did answers.
Three changes to the starting XI saw Manset replace Romaine Sawyers, who was also absent from the bench, and James Chambers and James O`Connor returned for Dean Holden and Liam Kinsella respectively. Chambers return turned out to be somewhat premature however as he lasted only seven minutes before limping off, and he was followed off the pitch by Ashley Grimes barely half an hour later when he picked up a calf injury.
In between, Tom Bradshaw had come close to heading the Saddlers in front when he met an Anthony Forde free kick, and Richard O`Donnell produced a superb reflex save to deny the impressive Hakeeb Adelukan, who gave Andy Taylor a torrid afternoon on the right wing. In terms of clear cut chances though, that was about it as we went into half time goalless; at that point that was how I expected it to say.
Adelukan had other ideas though as just six minutes after the restart he picked the ball up on the right, cut inside, danced past a couple of hacks from the Saddlers defenders, and drilled the ball past O`Donnell for an excellent goal. The home side doubled their lead three minutes later when Gary McSheffrey curled a stunning free kick home and effectively put the game to bed.
We didn`t really look like getting back into the game, but incredibly we managed it when Tom Bradshaw made it three league goals in five games following a mix up in the home sides defence. A long ball from O`Donnell was allowed to bounce by the centre half and Bradshaw nipped in first like an opportune striker should to head the ball past the flying fists of Iron keeper Bobby Elejnik.
Suddenly the Saddlers were galvanised into action and for the first time this season actually looked like we might be capable of scoring again. Substitutes James Baxendale and Kieron Morris both had shots blocked, although again we weren`t really testing the goalkeeper enough. Unfortunately it wasn`t to be and means we end the opening month of the season with only Colchester and Crewe below us in the table.
The biggest concern for me today was that, despite the fact we weren`t very good, I`m struggling to name anyone who actually had a bad game. Well, apart from the linesman on our side who inexplicably managed to give a goal kick after Baxendale dispossessed the Scunthorpe left back about three yards from the line. Other than that, there was nobody in the side you could say had particularly let themselves down. The fact everyone played ok, and as a team we were rubbish for 2/3 of the game is the biggest worry of all.