Writer: Alsop Richards
Date:Saturday January 27 2007
This was a hard match for the home fans, as the Saddlers continued to wobble at the top, a few more knocks and they will be disposed of their leadership. The players seemed to e lacking in confidence and ability, especially when the opposition turned up the heat. Do the players really expect teams to arrive at Bescot and allow the homeside to turn themover with their slick passing football? Well Grimsby did.
Walsall made two changes to the side who had performed so poorly at Field Mill last week. Dean Keates coming in for Kris Taylor, with Fox dropping to left back. Hector Sam came in for the ineffective Par. The Boston team included a host of non-league players who were full of determination, spirit and being able to kick the ball very long and hard, away from their own goal.
Walsall did start the brightest and got the ball down on the recovering Bescot pitch to try and take the lead. That's just what they did in the seventeenth minute as a long ball was put over the top, Marriott flapped and Butler rammed the ball into the back of the net. Game over right? No because the Saddlers were punished again for once again deciding to decamp in their own penalty area after scoring and were punished. A direct ball in the box that was headed down by Greaves towards Richards but Dann beat him to it and sliced into his own net. The impressive defender has become close to doing it all season and finally hit home on this time.
The referee G Hegley came across in the opening half an hour as an extremely generous man. He made a lot of fair, correct decisions. But what Hegley failed to do was fail to punish the offending players. Time and time again the Boston players were repeat offenders but still managed to walk away without punishment. They tested the referee to his max, but Mr. Hegley must be one of the most of the most understanding and generous Referee's in the League Two. Greaves elbowed Gerrard in the face as he waited for a free kick to be delievered. (He was a replacement for the injured Roper). Then one of the Boston defenders pushed Sam over as he raced onto a through ball. On the first decision the Referee decided that a quiet talking too was all that was needed, the second was deemed not a foul at all. There actually was the possibility that Mr. Hegley had forgotten his cards, as he let off an increasingly offending Boston.
The second half, was all about Walsall possession as they took the game to the visitors. But the half didn't witness a shot on goal by either side, as the visitors, spurred by their fifty supporters held on for their point. Walsall are in desperate need of an attacking midfielder and two wingers. As the strikers fail to recieve the service they need to be able to fire themselves up the scoring charts. Mark Wright managed to put in the worst performance of the weekend in the whole of the football league. He was abysmal from start to finish and when he did get a cross in, it was absolutely dreadful. Dean Keates played on the left, but he looked badly out of position and hasn't got the lung power to keep running up and the down the flanks. This is hammered home with dissappointment when Ismael is ready and waiting on the bench. Maybe the return of Darren Wrack will change Walsall's fortunes.
The loudest cheer from the game came when Mr. Hegley finally booked one of the Boston players; Mark Greaves. Ismael came off the bench with Par. Par was once again ineffective and it looks like he is going to need time to settle into the English game. Ismael took the game by the scruff of its neck and ran at the Boston defence. His first run he was hacked down by Greaves who was pulled up but much to the annoyance of the crowd failed to recieve a second yellow card. Mr. Hegley really didn't seem to like his paperwork, that comes with multiple cautions.
It was apparent that Walsall didn't have the player to give them some creativity that would have lead to goals. Boston were a poor team, but they had done their home work, on stopping the home side. But the Saddlers also failed due to an extremely poor Referee, who if he had stopped Boston from what was effectively cheating, would have created a more open match that would have been an advantage to the Saddlers. Richard Money has to bring back in-form James Constable from his spell from Harriers, he needs goals and the ex-Chippenham Town man seems to be the hottest thing outside the football league at the moment. Also Ismael's cameo roles really need to be expanded as League Two defence's just can't cope with his directness, fast dribbling and pace. Very much a case of two points dropped.
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Date:Saturday January 27 2007
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