The Banks Stadium
Walsall got their first win at the Banks' Stadium this season after humilating a Huddersfield side that came into the game a couple of points above. Walsall fans were seeking three points after their marvelous performances on the road against Hartlepool and Doncaster Rovers. But the Banks' hasn't been so popular this season for the men in white. Richard Money picked the same side that played so well at the Keepmoat, a five man midfield, Huddersfield had journey man Danny Cadamateri suspended for being sent off against Forest.
Right from the start, the Saddlers took control and were classy all across the pitch. Sonko and Ismael on the flanks destroyed their markers, beating them back and forth. The midfield were fantastic, full of energy, pace and most vitally hunger and determination.
The Saddlers should have taken the lead in the opening exchanges, a defenders back header to the keeper was picked up by veteran Mooney but his shot was well saved by Matthew Glennon in the Terriers goal. With the away side failing to get out of their own half or manage a shot, Walsall had another chance. A long ball by Ismael back in the left back slot was flicked on by Mooney into the path of Sonko, but his controlling header took him wide and his low shot flew wide of the far post. But Walsall's domination finally paved the way for a goal, Fox's free kick from the right was flicked into the net by Anthony Gerrard, a well rehearsed routine on the training pitch. Huddersfield tried to get back into the game straight away with the ever willing Beckett doing his all, but the Saddlers got a deserved second to reward their work ethos. Sonko took control of a loose ball in the penalty area before volleying into the roof of Glennon's net. Things should have got worse for Huddersfield just before half time, Ismael fouled Sinclair late after he cleared the ball and was quick to apoligise but the former Chelsea man took hold of Ismael by his neck and shirt and throttled the young winger. Many in the crowd were open mouthed by the fact Ismael didn't react, but were left more open mouthed as the Referee saw fit to caution both players. The challenge wasn't a yellow card, so the Walsall player got booked for Sinclair's over-reaction but it was simply a red card for the Huddersfield man, in anybody's eyes. Walsall left the pitch to loud applause from the home faithful who clearly enjoyed what they saw.
Huddersfield came out early for the second half and in the opening exchanges showed determination and tempo in their play. But soon the game was beyond them, the Terriers failed to clear a high ball and Gerrard flicked the ball forward for Bradley to prod home. The young Welsh man was having a sensational game and was an everwilling runner. Ismale then took on Sinclair once more before being cynically hacked down by the defended who was been giving a torried experience by Asbo. The Jamaican International was now leaving the game just ten minutes after he should have.
Now the Saddlers played champagne football, spreading the ball well, with neat exchanging passes as they continued to dominate midfield and the game. Their was disappointment in the crowd that the team were obsessed with trying to walk the ball into the net. Though they did get a fourth on sixty seven minutes. Weston's deep cross was meant for the head of the onrushing Bradley but he mistimed his header and the ball went to Mooney who flicked the ball past Glennon for a deserved goal for the veteran's effort. Now the Saddlers ran riot. In a weekend full of goals and large scores in League One it was the Saddlers who could have had the rugby score. They just didn't show the ruthlessness to get into double figures that their play and performance warranted. Much could be put down to the number of changes Richard Money made, Denney came on for Mooney, Hall for Ismael and McDermott for Sonko.
In the final stages Denney was unlucky not to find the net, he raced onto a mistake by a defender but the Huddersfield player recovered enough to deflect the young man's shot against the post. As the corner was about to be taken, the Referee ended the visitors misery by blowing the final whistle.
The Saddlers were simply brilliant, and if they continue to play with their style and work rate shown today they will continue to rise and collect more and more points. Richard Money's deserves all the credit for kicking out troublemakers and bringing in a young crop of players who are desperate to do well. It will be a testing game against Tranmere on friday but this side seems to like challenges and the youth fears nothing.