Walsall 0-2 Leyton Orient - Report
28/02/2015 - 15:00
Waking up on a Saturday morning knowing you`re playing a team in the bottom four at home should leave you feeling full of optimism for the game ahead. Yet it didn`t, such is the alarming regularity we fail to turn up for these sort of games. It`s infuriating, partly because it`s now accepted as just something that happens. Walsall don`t win at home against teams at the bottom.
Unfortunately, "Walsall don`t win at home…" is the start of far too many sentences. Walsall don`t win at home against teams at the bottom. Walsall don`t win at home on Family Fun Days. Walsall don`t win at home when we change ends before kick off. Walsall don`t win at home when we give free tickets to the schools. The bottom line is Walsall don`t win at home anywhere near enough.
So with Orient being planted firmly in the relegation zone pre-match, and the family stand being virtually full of school kids, you had to hope the double negative resulted in two wrongs making a right. It didn`t.
More wrongs were to follow, as the Saddlers lined up with three right backs, three strikers and no wingers in a 4-2-3-1 formation that unsurprisingly lacked any form of shape, width or cohesion. Our only threat was from direct free kicks, with both Andy Taylor and Jordan Cook having first half free kicks saved, both times after Tom Bradshaw had been fouled. Bradshaw has quite rightly won many plaudits for his goalscoring exploits and his carrying of the team this season, but the amount we miss Anthony Forde when he`s not in the team is truly frightening as we carried precisely no threat from either flank all game. Even the fullbacks were struggling and, barring one Romaine Sawyers cross from the left that went unattacked with about fifteen minutes remaining, there wasn`t a single good ball played into the area all game.
As a result we got exactly what we deserved from the game, absolutely nothing. It wasn`t just us being utterly rubbish however, Orient were good value for their win with two quality finishes early in the second half. Firstly Ryan Hedges found himself free inside the Saddlers box and fired an excellent left footed shot past Richard O`Donnell, and just three minutes later the game was all but over when Chris Dagnall produced a near copy of the first goal, but from the opposite side.
Since the blistering opening 22 minutes against Rochdale we`ve now gone 248 minutes without scoring at home and, even more worryingly, have conceded five goals in that time. Our home record in all competitions since Christmas reads P8, W1, D2, L5, F6, A16.
Wembley final looming or night, that simply isn`t good enough.