The Banks Stadium
Walsall dominated from start to finish, in the early afternoon meeting with local rivals Port Vale. But the Saddlers were once again wasteful in front of goal. Though down the other end the Saddlers were resolute, mean and error free and Clayton Ince was rarely tested. Vale fans this evening, will most likely be buying lottery tickets, as their goal lived a charmed life and Vale got lucky break after lucky break.
The Saddlers were forced to switch ends and attacked the Gilbert Alsop (sorry Floors-To-Go) end during the first half. They started brightly, what was to follow was a tale of missed opportunites and a series of events of misfortune. The Saddlers got back to basics, simple passing, Gerrard adding much needed steel in midfield.
Weston fired a low ball across the goal, Dann stuck his toe out but could only fire the ball over the bar. A lofted ball over the top, landed to Fox who volleyed towards goal from close range but Joe Anylon in the Vale goal, got enough on it to deflect the ball wide. More was to follow, six minutes from half time, Hall fired a ball into the box, Paul Harsley decided to block the cross with his hand. The Vale player stopped, the Assistant Referee a couple of feet away looked to the Referee, the Referee bottled it waving play on. An unbelievable decision which would have been mocked about if it had happend in the Premiership by Match Of The Day pundits. But lower league abysmal Referee's still never get mentioned or pulled up for poor performances or decisions. But the Saddlers still should have taken the lead, Darren Wrack rounded the goalkeeper but a Vale defender raced back to clear. Anthony Gerrard then had a one on one with the Goalkeeper but flicked the ball wide. Vale had survived, but only just.
The second half was a lot more scrappy but the Saddlers continued to dominate. The Saddlers missed various opportunities which culmunated with one of the biggest goal mouths scrambles ever seen. Walsall showed signs of the Champions they were, they were tight at the back but missed a certain dominative midfield adding much needed goals, that certain midfielder has never been replaced. Danny Sonner may have been feeling ill but his performance against his old club was quite shocking and it was no surprise when he was subed during the second half.
Looking on, the Saddlers are back, mean at the back, wasteful in front of goal, this season's going to be fun. The Saddlers are desperate for reinforcements, a creative midfielder and a profolic striker, then they can actually make a go of this season.