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The Guest Blog 2015/16 - Episode 7

Our regular blogger, Adam Guest, explains why last nights defeat at Swindon exposes our frailties at home.

24 hours on and I find I`m still irritated by last nights` loss at Swindon. Not because I feel we have a divine right to turn up at places like the County Ground and walk away with 3 points (I don`t), and not even because of the fact we dominated the game and contrived to lose it; we`ve done that often enough in the past, Crawley away last season being the obvious recent example. No, what irks me is that even though we`ve got to the final away game of November before being beaten on the road, the fact our home record is so patchy means that dropping those points suddenly presents us with a bit of a problem.

Let`s be honest, had we been at home last night to the side sitting third bottom of the league and got turned over by a last minute sucker punch, then none of us would have been particularly surprised. Frustrated, annoyed, angry; yes of course, but shocked? Definitely not. Throwing away points at home to sides we should be beating is a problem that has plagued the Dean Smith era and has been touched on many times before in previous issues of this blog.

Going away to a team fighting for their lives and losing to a last minute goal will happen from time to time, we`ve done it to sides at the top often enough to know that. The problem is we can`t afford for that to happen as we`re so dependent on our form on the road to keep us in the promotion hunt. Really results on our travels need to be supplementing our home record, but currently we`re reliant on it compensating for it. Our hat trick of home wins against table topping sides is well documented; but in our other home games we`ve amassed a grand total of 6 points from matches against Oldham (21st), Bury (9th), Doncaster (16th), Crewe (24th), Chesterfield (15th) and Sheffield United (12th), securing just a single win. That`s simply not promotion winning form and is the single biggest reason I`ve found myself not being able to get carried away with our admittedly impressive start of the season.

Unlike in the last two years our problem this time around hasn`t been scoring goals, the problem is knowing when not to attack and when to concentrate on keeping them out at the other end. That probably sounds weird considering we concede less than a goal a game and still have the second best defensive record in the league, but all three home games we`ve drawn (Oldham, Crewe and Sheffield Utd) have seen us score first and be pegged back. That`s 6 points dropped from winning positions against sides outside the top 10. It`s our achilles heel and is costing us dearly, and means victories on the road now become essential, rather than the welcome bonus they should be treated as.

Happily, on Saturday we`re at home to Bradford City, a side in the top six who have now kept seven consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, not conceding since a 1-1 draw at home to Wigan on the 24th October; and they haven`t conceded on the road since 3rd October at Rochdale, a game they won 3-1. It`s the sort of challenge we relish and one we normally win.

Wouldn`t it be typically Walsall to go and put a hatful past them?

The Journalist

Writer: @adamguestwfc Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 25 2015

Time: 8:30PM

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Latest Results
Walsall 2 - 1 Bradford
Swindon 2 - 1 Walsall
Walsall 1 - 1 Sheff Utd
Walsall 3 - 2 Gillingham
Colchester 4 - 4 Walsall
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Team P W D L GD Pts
1. Coventry 20 11 6 3 17 39
2. Gillingham 20 11 5 4 14 38
3. Burton 19 12 2 5 7 38
4. Walsall 19 10 6 3 14 36
5. Wigan 20 9 7 4 10 34
6. Peterborough 20 10 3 7 15 33
7. Millwall 19 9 4 6 4 31

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