Walsall 2-0 Burton Albion
10/10/2015 - 15:00
A first senior goal for Liam Kinsella, and an injury time penalty from Tom Bradshaw saw the Saddlers leapfrog the Brewers at the top of League One. It was the second time already this season we`ve hosted the side who went into the game top of the league, only for us beat them and go above them in the table, just as we did with Coventry at the end of August.
Kinsella, who was only playing because of the absence of Jason Demetriou who was away scoring the winning goal for Cyprus in Israel, had spent much of the first half hour in acres of space on the right hand side not being passed too as the Saddlers opted to do most of their good work on the opposite flank. But he came into the game in spectacular fashion in the 36th minutes. Having just been denied by McLaughlin in the Burton goal, this time Romaine Sawyers opted to play in Kinsella who drilled a low drive under the Brewers keeper to fire the Saddlers in front.
The two sides had gone into game with the best defensive records in the league, and it showed as clear cut chances remained at a premium throughout the afternoon. The Saddlers were defending from the front, with Sawyers dispossessing opposition players on multiple occasions, while both Kinsella and Rico Henry made a number of key tackles on the flanks and Adam Chambers was immense breaking up play in front of the defence. The visitors did come close to an equaliser on one occasion though as Sam Mantom headed an effort off the line from a Burton corner, while at the other end Mantom saw his attempt blocked when it looked for all the world that he`d score having been played through by Bradshaw.
In truth the game felt quite comfortable and we didn`t really look in danger of conceding, but that changed in the 88th minute when a ball down the right beat the Saddlers offside trap and was laid on a plate for substitute Timmy Thiele who somehow saw Kinsella block his effort in a contribution at least as important as his goal.
It proved pivotal as in injury time Sawyers played the ball against the arm of John Mousinho in the area and the ref pointed to the spot. Bradshaw stepped up and stroked the ball past McLaughlin to wrap up the points and send the Saddlers back to the top of the league.
The attendance of 6,812 was healthy, even though approximately 1,300 were visiting supporters. If all 5,500 Saddlers fans who were there can return for Chesterfield next Saturday we can continue to give this team the support it deserves.