Walsall 1-1 Coventry City - MATCH REPORT
29/10/2016 - 15:00
The Saddlers were again indebted to Turkish wizard Erhun Oztumer as they battled back from a goal down to rescue a point against an in-form Coventry City.
Like ourselves, the visitors were enjoying an excellent October with three wins from four league games and an EFL Trophy victory over Northampton to boot; they may have started the game in the bottom four but it was never likely to be an easy game.
And so it proved as, despite looking a threat when getting out wide, a well organised and physical Sky Blues defence easily nullified the minimal threat posed by record signing Andreas Makris. The Cypriot international works very hard, but he doesn`t seem to carry any goal threat, which is kind of required when playing as a lone striker. With Kieron Morris and Franck Moussa being better in the wide positions, and with both Simeon Jackson and Amadou Bakayoko proving to currently be better strikers, it`s difficult to see what he offers the side. Whilst it`s far too soon to write him off completely, improvement is certainly required.
The Sky Blues took the lead in the 36th minute, ex Watford striker Marvin Sordell picked out Andy Rose who`s scuffed, tame effort made its way past Neil Etheridge, one the Philippines international will definitely feel he should have done better with.
One man who did make sure he was heavily involved in the game was the referee; you could tell he was going to be one of those officials 20 seconds in when he booked Joe Edwards for a nothing challenge. Scott Laird was also booked for a trip, whilst Lewis Page got off without so much as a ticking off for scything challenge on Oztumer seconds earlier. A Coventry player did eventually make it into the book when Gael Bigrimana was brought down in the area by Etheridge with a challenge that definitely fell into the 'seen them given` bracket; surprisingly, Bigrimana was booked for diving.
The visitors remained the better side early in the second half, Etheridge doing well to deny both Sordell and Daniel Agyei. However, on the hour when Makris was replaced by Jackson, the Saddlers suddenly sprang into life. Edwards had an effort saved, and then moments later the Saddlers should have been level. Oztumer was hacked down in the area, Morris had a huge chance to make any penalty decision academic, screwed his shot wide and no penalty was forthcoming. As Oztumer approached the referee with his hands behind his back in a clearly display of "this is not dissent ref", he was promptly booked, for dissent.
Jordan Turnbull was then booked for Coventry for a bad foul, with Oztumer putting the resulting free kick straight at the keeper, but moments later we got it right as a skilful one-two between Oztumer and Edwards saw Oztumer side foot the ball home to level the scores.
Morris and Josh Ginnely, who had replaced Moussa, both also had efforts saved as the Saddlers pushed for a winner. Morris then found himself on the receiving end of a crude challenge from Page who was finally booked, and, as a result, had to be replaced by Liam Kinsella. It was the young substitute who had the best chance to win the game too in injury time, but scuffed his shot well wide when he really should have scored.
So it finished all square, was probably a fair result, is definitely a point gained, and is a nice way to go into the FA Cup break. An unbeaten October puts Whitney in with a shout of manager of the month; what price him and Oztumer scooping the manager/player double?