Field of weeds, blown away
The half time performance of cheerleader group Stagettes was lacklustre, out-of-steps, passionless and basically a complete mess. The Walsall performance in this match was all of the above, except the young girls of the Stagettes at least tried to be a team, something that was lacking from their male counterparts. A wise man once said that if something isn't broke there's no need to fix it. Maybe somebody should tell this to gaffer Richard Money, as he made two changes from the victorious team of Monday. Daniel Fox coming in for Dean Keates and Par Cederqyst in for the impressive Hector Sam. Mansfield had new signings Barry Conlon and Martin Gritton up front. Conlon is one of those players who wouldn't get into your sunday morning pub team for being overweight, but always seems to score against Walsall.
Walsall started brightly against the high winds and took the lead in the nineth minute. Wright's corner floating to the back post where Butler and Par got into each other's way, but the ruthless Roper fired the ball into the net. The Saddlers defenders did look slow at the back. Maybe they didn't fancy this one in the high winds of Nottinghamshire. Too many headers were too easily won by the front pair of Mansfield. Mansfield should have equalised in the thirteenth minute. Kris Taylor feeling we were five nil up dwelt on the ball, Brown took possession off him and freed Conlon. The pass was too long but Ince failed to come off his line to clear but then did make a smart save. A minute later they were level, Hamshaw crossing for Conlon to fire into the roof of the net from close-range. Mansfield off course grew in confidence and Conlon could have had four goals as he failed to take advantage of poor Walsall defending. Walsall fans could not complain if they were 5.1 down at half-time.
Walsall didn't start the second half much better, they lost possession far too easily. Sam came on for Par who had done okay in the first-half. But Walsall did want to win the game and started to take the game to their hosts. Against the run of play, Taylor gave the ball away to Brown who crosses over long and too deep for the offside Gritton. Ince rose and had eyes only for the ball, Gritton buried his body into the midriff of Ince, leaning back. Ince playing for the foul, dropped the ball and Gritton bundled home. The referee who had been poor all day, failed to give the decision, neither did his assistant and Walsall felt agrieved. But Ince shouldn't have played for the foul, even if it meant taking the offending player out. The Saddlers were finding it increasingly hard to find chances against a Stags team who basically put eleven men behind the ball and hoped the 'homer' Referee would dig them out of too much trouble. Keates in the last minute did have his effort cleared off the lead. But the Saddlers were unfortunately off and could really have no real complains about losing after their first half performance.
Things I have learned today; Ince is going to cost us points, he did today and he did against Grimsby and nearly did against Notts County. I also learned Mansfield fans don't like their chairman. Also I learned that Mansfield Town can't count or their Chairman really is on the fiddle. The Walsall away support was announced as being just over nine hundred fans. But there was no empty seats in the away end, in fact people were standing in the aisle's. I researched that the North Away Stand has a capacity of one thousand, eight hundred. I have the feeling that the embarrassing fact that there were more away supporters than home was too much to take for Mansfield.