Writer: Alsop Richards
Date:Wednesday October 3 2007
Walsall came out of a thriller to move away from the bottom of the table. The Saddlers coming into the match would have been forgiven for accepting a point, Doncaster are a skilled side who won the football league trophy last season and will be around the play off shake up come the end of the season. But the Saddlers with whatever they lacked in certain areas, showed bags of commitment, energy and workrate, put simply they were brilliant. But that's not to say there is work not to be done or their weren't concerns in the performance, especially the first half. In the opening half the defending and goalkeeping were poor and it was the Saddlers who were to blame for both goals the Rovers goals.
In an interesting four, five, one- Bradley came in for Denney and Mooney played up front on his own. Doncaster had skilled forwards in their lineup of Lewis Guy and James Hayter. On seventeen minutes the homeside were gifted a goal, a ball into the box, a static defence, a rooted goalkeeper and a Matthew Mills goal. After the resolute defending against Pool would it all come indone as defensive insecurites crept back into their game?
Mooney work harding on his own, then won Walsall a freekick, Fox stepped up and with the aide of a massive deflection brought the Saddlers back onto level terms. But Doncaster came back and had a solid twenty minutes of play when they put Walsall under severe pressure. But the Saddlers who came through this moments last season, would have been distraught as they gave away another soft goal. A ball over the top was watched by Gerrard and Wrack, Ince once again didn't move and Guy scored from an acute angle. Now the Saddlers fans were thinking back to the Priestfield Stadium.
End to end football and except for the defending Walsall showed good passing and energy and were doing well. Mark Bradley making his debut was doing okay but flirted in and out of the game.
Walsall started well, the second half was perhaps the best forty five minutes in Mr. Money's tenure. Mattis covered acre after acre of grass. Attacking flowing football, Sonko showed a clear quality in flashing moments. They got their just rewards soon after the hour, another Fox freekick found Bradley unmarked who fired Walsall level, much to the joy of their supporters behind the goal. Doncaster wanted the three points and so did the Saddlers, Walsall players chased down long balls and lost causes. It was this resolution that led to their ulitimate winner. Ismael who was below par chased a long boat, Sullivan took hold of the ball and then for some strange reason gave the younger winger a push. Unbelievably but technically solid and correct the Referee who in his comical performance gave the penalty, this instance is something that happens quite often but is never given in football. Mooney cooly stepped up to give the Saddlers three points.
But a thriller always has a twists and that came in the last minute, Weston who struggled to come to terms with the pace of the game after coming on hauled down Adam Lockword. James Coppinger stepped up but tamely slotted his penality wide, to the Saddlers fans joy. Lewis Guy with nobody around then compounded his and his teams night by getting himeslf sent off for foul and abusive language- silly boy.
Walsall fans were quit to jump to the extremes of disappointment and apathy after the poor performances that opened the season, will they now start to talk about promotion after a couple of impressive wins? One thing is clear, the side is now working for each other and are on the up and will do okay. In a week that saw Martin Butler talk himself into exclusion, the Saddlers can now look to attract better players in onloan as their form improves. But I'd like to see a performance and hopefully three points at the Banks' with Huddersfield visit to wash away my nightmares from the Oldham performance.
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Date:Wednesday October 3 2007
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