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Teenage Kicks!

Northampton
0 - 2
Walsall

Sixfields

24/11/07

Attendance: 5767

Referee:

Walsall came out easy winners against an effcient and hardworking Cobblers side, who just lacked the finished quality that was apparent in the visitors. Walsall made two changes with on loan Peter Sweeney and returning Mark Bradley taking up centre midfield with Sonko and Wrack going to the flanks and Demontagnac and Hall to the bench.

Northampton have been inconsistent for much of the season so far and their form seems to rely on the ruthlessness of former Boston United striker Andy Kirk. Lucky for the Saddlers that Kirk wasn't in the mood. Though overall it was an effcient display, the Saddlers would have been disappointed how they'd started the match and next saturday if the Cobblers do manage to find the net in the first fifthteen minutes it'll be a totally different ball game. That's because Northampton were dominant in the opening exchanges, with ex Dingle Colin Larkin working hard and Andy Holt flashing a header just wide.

But credit to the Saddlers the now resolute back five did survive and the visitors came roaring back into the match. Ricketts fired the ball over the bar after collecting a Sweeney pass. Then Bunn in the Cobblers goal had to save a thirty five yard shot from winger Darren Wrack. What was to be an impressive forty five minutes work by the Saddlers got even better on the stroke of half time, Mooney fed the ball into Ricketts who in turn fed the bursting Bradley, who fired low, Bunn saved well but unfortunately the ball came back to the Welsh man who wasn't going to need a third invitation. One nil to the Saddlers, Bradley who after scoring for his country in midweek was ozzing cocky assurance and confidence as he strode forward to help Mooney and Ricketts, knowing Sweeney was behind plugging the gap that he'd left, hopefully this relationship can only get better.

The hardworking Cobblers came out fighting for the point, but the Saddlers rearguard was just too strong and Clayton Ince's record of clean sheets could just need upping again. The home side decided to twist just before the hour mark making three attacking subsitutions. After surviving Mark Hughes and giant Paul Hubertz headers that both missed the target the Saddlers finished the game off.

Bradley collected the ball on the right on a counter attack, he looked up and saw the on rushing sub Demontagnac, he made no mistake with the pass and Demontagnac finished with one touch, firing low under Bunn. If only the young Demontagnac had been so assured when clean through against Luton the previous week, the Saddlers would now been in the playoffs.

Northampton are no mugs, their Manager has the reputation of an incompetent prat (Southampton fiasco) but they will be all willing and fired up to get revenge against the Saddlers in the second round of the FA cup. Walsall will have to defend just as well if they are to grind out this same fantastic result. It seems now that the Saddlers are being taken as serious play-off contenders, in the larger picture they'll halfway there to the points total which will see survival from relegation, but the future does seem bright.

Star Player

Mark Bradley, with performances like this, it's clear to see why Walsall fans are so disappointed when he's just average. But with experience and age will grow consistency and with hang onto the Welshman who could be a player in the mould of Martin O'Connor.


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Writer:Alsop Richards
Date:Sunday November 25 2007
Time: 7:06PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
P Wigan 45 24 15 6 87 40
2 Burton 45 25 9 11 84 20
3 Millwall 45 23 9 13 78 23
4 Walsall 44 22 12 10 78 15
5 Bradford 45 22 11 12 77 13
6 Barnsley 45 21 8 16 71 13
7 Scunthorpe 45 20 11 14 71 11
8 Gillingham 45 19 12 14 69 16
9 Coventry 45 18 12 15 66 16
10 Sheff Utd 45 18 12 15 66 7
11 Rochdale 45 18 12 15 66 6
12 Port Vale 45 18 11 16 65 3
13 Peterborough 45 18 6 21 60 5
14 Southend 45 16 11 18 59 -5
15 Bury 45 15 12 18 57 -18
16 Swindon 45 15 11 19 56 -10
17 Oldham 45 12 18 15 54 -12
18 Chesterfield 45 15 8 22 53 -10
19 Shrewsbury 45 13 11 21 50 -18
20 Fleetwood 44 11 15 18 48 -4
21 Blackpool 45 12 10 23 46 -19
22 Doncaster 45 11 12 22 45 -16
R Colchester 45 9 13 23 40 -41
R Crewe 45 7 13 25 34 -35
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