Writer: Alsop Richards
Date:Saturday November 17 2007
The Banks' Stadium
In a match where defences were always on top, it ended goal less but it was the Saddlers who should have taken all three points in their push for the play offs. Last season there was a whole division between the two sides, Luton in the Championship and the Saddlers in the football's basement. But you would have been hard pressed to find anybody in the Stadium to believe it wasn't the Saddlers who weren't plying their trade in the second tier of football. Walsall played neat interchangeable football while Luton who were happy to hoof the ball and push and shove for ball possession, which constantly went unchecked by the Referee.
The reason the Saddlers failed to take the full haul was down to three reasons: wide wingers playing in central midfield, a lack of ruthlessness up front and a disagraceful performance by the Referee and one of his Assistants, making it thirteen players on the Luton side.
I wouldn't say Andrew Taylor (Greater Manchester) was the main reason we didn't win the match but he was a major part of the Luton rear guard and made poor decision after poor decision against the home side. During the first half, Mr. Taylor gave one appalling corner to Luton, Bell flicked the ball past Weston but he kicked it our of play, which Bell should have kicked out for a goalkick and Taylor also gave numerous free kicks just outside the Walsall penalty area. Fortunately for the Saddlers, David Bell and veteran Don Hutchinson didn't have their shooting boots on and failed to take advantage of the Referee's generous decisions. Also constant fouls on Mooney and Ricketts by fat Chris Coyne also went unchecked and it wasn't long before the Australian started to use his elbows to take total advantage from the unseeing eye of Mr. Taylor.
The second half didn't get much better for the man in black and his Assistant running the line of the Luton defence got in the act as well, making some absolutely disgraceful decisions on the sidelines, from offsides to the ball being out of play. This time Mr. Taylor gave a goalkick after Coyne made a vital interception off Ricketts' head flicking the ball wide. Then in the closing moments McDermott chased down a lost caused only for the defender under pressure by the corner flag to nudge the ball behind, but Mr. Taylor only two yards away some how unbelievable gave another goal kick, it was a little hard to believe one man could be so incompetent or was it something more?
But on the other hand the Saddlers should have killed the Hatters long before then. Demontagnac was released after a quick one two with Ricketts, he raced in on goal but fired his shot early and put it past the far post, when he should have done better. Ricketts later stooped to head wide from a yard out after Weston's deflected cross into the box, it appeared the big man felt he was offside but in truth he'd missed an absolute sitter. In the second half, the untypically quiet Mooney, rolled his marker to break free but unforgivably volleyed the ball straight into the body of Brill as the ball sat up for him, you would have thought the striker would have placed the ball either side. giving Brill no chance.
Luton during spells in the first half and second half had spells but it was of menacing domination instead of cutting ruthlessness. In truth Clayton Ince never made a save as the Walsall defence showed why they're so highly rated, Dann and Gerrard had Calvin Andrew and Paul McVeigh in their pockets all game.
Nick Owen, Midlands Today newsreporter, shit comedian and avid Luton fan, rang up Radio WM to comment on the match from the away end. Questions have been raised to what the dwarf like Owen had been smoking, or even what game he'd watched as he assessed that the Hatters dominated and should have won the game easily. Mr. Owen if you should have easily won the match, I think you need to register a least one chance on goal, don't you think?
The big problem was midfield, Money had looked to draft in a loan midfielder and failed, but the side sadly missed a Dobson or Bradley and Sonko and Wrack, though giving their all, panic too much, can't tackle and constantly give the ball away, get them back on the wings asap please. Bradley will be welcomed back for the trip to Sixfields and hopefully he'll be partnered with a new midfielder. The fact is that since the start of the season the Saddlers have lost; Butler, Canerio, Picken and Sonner while the only new arrival's been Ricketts. We had a threadbare squad in the Summer which has been streched to its limit now, help is needed desperately.
To our visitors who are looking less likely to push for promotion every game, they've brought in two midfielders and turned down the chance of bringing former Chelsea player Jody Morris to the club, I wonder if he fancies coming to the Banks'
Date:Saturday November 17 2007
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