Writer: Alsop Richards
Date:Saturday April 21 2007
The Bescot Stadium
Walsall came into this game knowing that they could e top if they were to take the three points. The Gaffer advised that winning the Championship was priority but did the players have the self-believe or determination to turn petty talk into points and pole position in League Two? Walsall made one change to the team that started at Notts County, Kris Taylor came in for Craig Pead and the two centre halves were Fox and Gerrard. Bury had the profilic ex-Walsall striker Andy Bishop up front for them who had scored twenty one goals this season, yes nearly twice as many as Martin Butler.
The answer to the question was a resounding no. The Walsall players failed to even raise a sweat in either half and were happy to pass the ball back and forth between themselves instead of taking the game to their relegation threatened visitors. This will be remembered as the most dissappointing game of the season as the Walsall team truly let down their supporters who had given so much support this season. Bury to their credit at times did get the ball down on the floor and played smartly building from the wings. Walsall who didn't even manage anything close to a shot in the first half, played the ball long to Benjamin but the big man was unable to set up any play and will surely be leaving in two games time. The half was also noted for the extremely lacklustre performance from Kevin Cooper, it seems his performances in a red shirt have little to do with a niggling knee injury and more to do with his awful appetite for the game. Walsall finished their abysmal half by giving away a comical goal. The once promising Tommy Youngs pressured Anthony Gerrard who instead of trying to head the ball or hook it out of play was determined to get possession of the ball. Youngs was fouling Gerrard with a firm push in the back, but Gerrard headed the ball into Youngs chest and the ball dribbled past the onrushing Ince and into the empty net, trully abysmal from the Referee to the scouse defender.
The second half started with Walsall on the attack and they brought on Ismael for Cooper. Ismael immediately took the game to the Bury defence and ripped through them repeatedly at will, soon he had three light blue shirts on his back. Benjamin had an excellent opportunity to give Walsall an equaliser but he hooked a loose ball over the bar, he did this a further three times before he was replaced by Darren Wrack. Walsall were on top but failed to take advantage, Bury with the dangerous Bishop on the break stretched the game and looked for a killer goal. Andy Warrington in the Shakers goal made an excellent tip over from a long range Fox effort. But Walsall lost all shape as they looked for an equaliser, Hector Sam came on for Dobson and anything close to a formation was hard to make out.
The whistle blew and the Walsall fans were disgusted with the performance, they had playd abysmal at Meadow Lane but their will to win had got them through. Here that will was sadly missing and Bury no great shakes themselves had the luck of the green including having two clear penalties not given against them in a space of a minute. There was one person who was having a worst game than even the worst offenders in the Walsall team, the Referee who was shocking, he was inconsistent to the end, failed to show any authority or bottle in giving tough decisions and ulitmately played a large part in Bury's chances of survival for this season.
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Date:Saturday April 21 2007
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