April 14, 2014

Upthesaddlers to close (possibly)

roger6 @ 11:03 am Monday 14 April 2014

We are looking for somebody to take over running upthesaddlers from the beginning of June. After 17 years it needs a fresh injection of ideas from somebody with more time.

Maintenance costs are around £150 per month, partly funded by donations above, and there is some revenue coming in from google adsense and sponsorship. There is the opportunity to change hosting provider and reduce the maintenance costs for somebody who knows the server/hosting market and familiar with web development.

So if you would like to run UpTheSaddlers please either send me a PM or contact editor@upthesaddlers.com with your ideas and demonstrate how you can take the site forward, and that you have the ability to fund the site for the 2014-5 season.

If a new chief can’t be found than this site will close on 31 May 2014 although I will make every effort to keep the archive of content available somewhere.

March 29, 2014

Walsall 1 Shrewsbury

roger6 @ 9:18 pm Saturday 29 March 2014

The Saddlers struck a vital 1-0 win at home to Shrewsbury today to keep alive their playoff hopes. Latvian Cheese takes up the story of the game via the message board

Westcarr such a nice chap he felt like he should even it up. The ref was a right idiot. Mostly in our favour today, you can tell he has never played the game.

The first sending off was a bit suspect looked a 50/50 to me but i didnt really see it all that well tbh. Then the challenge that took Westcarr out was a disgrace, over the top and the only intent was to hurt him, no wonder he was gypsy’s off, ref didnt even give a freekick. No excuses for him though, he is an experienced player, and he has let everyone down. Shame really as he scored a cracking goal and was playing quite well.

Poor game both teams worked very hard without creating much. Baxendale and Brandy worked their poonarni’s off. Taylor was superb again today, be a huge loss if someone poaches him.

Once again Smith refuses to make substitutions for effect. Ngoo is woeful at times, but you cant expect him to make an impact being given 4 minutes a game. He’s gonna have to play now anyway.

A welcome three points, it wasnt comfortable, it was on piece of skill that won it in the end. Still frustrating as we should have won by a few more goals.

March 23, 2014

Walsall 1 Leyton Orient 1

roger6 @ 10:47 am Sunday 23 March 2014

The Saddlers held high-flying Orient yesterday but are now without a win in ten games and the play-off dream looks increasingly forlorn. Codsall Saddler looked for the positives on the message board

Felt that the performance was much better yesterday with Mantom back, but the old failing of a lack of punch stopped us winning convincingly (again). Defence pretty solid and O’Donnell in good form when Orient did break through (apart from one odd punch in the first half). The front four alternating was interesting, but didn’t really solve the problem. Westcarr looks shot and Sawyers, who could be brilliant, overelaborates when a quick pass or shot would be better. Frustrating when Posh seem to regularly stumble and we can’t take advantage.

Orient fan staying with us said we were as good as anyone they’ve played this season over the 3 games with them. He also recognised the key issue for us was a lack of a focal point. He felt Orient were lucky to get anything yesterday.

February 14, 2014

Peterborough 0 Walsall

roger6 @ 9:50 pm Friday 14 February 2014

It takes a real supporter to travel to the midst of Cambridgeshire amidst the floods apocalypse and ignore the romance of Valentines. Sadly brave Saddlers who made just such a trip were rewarded with a 0-0 stalemate.

We will have first reaction as soon as the message board gets populated with thoughts.

January 29, 2014

Walsall 1 Swindon 1

roger6 @ 12:23 pm Wednesday 29 January 2014

Disappointment all around Bescot last night as the Saddlers failed to make the most of first half dominance resulting in a 1-1 draw with Swindon. JAL-WFC via the message board is hoping for a striker before the window slams shut on Friday…

Performances like that are the reason we wont make the play-offs. How many times this season have we said that? We could and should have been 2-0 by half time, killing the game off since Swindon posed no threat whatsoever. Only way they were going to score was from a set piece or header… Typical Walsall allowing them back into the game and dropping 2 points.

It does show how far we have come though, which is a testament to the squad Smith’s put together.

We play such good football and it is a pleasure to watch. It is just so frustrating that we dont have a clinical end product. Hopefully we get a striker in by the weekend, allowing Westcarr to play in his best position. Nothing against Swayers as he has been a revelation this season, but he is the only one in the team that potentially could be dropped without disrupting the way we play. His goal today was beautifully worked and well dispatched; if only we could be so clinical in 50% of the chances we make!!

Nobody played badly today, although Milan was fairly anonymous throughout. The wing play and movement of all 4 attacking players in the first half was encouraging, helped by a very good performance by Benning, who seems to be maturing into a fine fullback. The Mantom/Chambers partnership is perhaps the best midfield partnership I have seen at Walsall, they both work so well together. Back 4 and keeper are as solid as we have had since 2008.

This team could do so well and the top six is well within our reach. It will be a hell of a lot easier if we sign an out and out striker though.

January 25, 2014

Notts County 1 Walsall 5

roger6 @ 7:40 pm Saturday 25 January 2014

A sensational performance away at Notts County today has seen the Saddlers demolish Notts County by hitting five goals for their biggest away win in years. Saddlers at the game are still on their way back but will doubt be posting reports on the message board, but in the meantime here is the wire copy courtesy of Orange UK:

Febian Brandy’s first-half hat-trick helped Walsall climb into the play-off places with 5-1 win at Notts County.

Andy Butler and Craig Westcarr scored soon after the interval to continue the rout before Callum McGregor pulled back a consolation for the hosts.

Now unbeaten in six games, the Saddlers boast the best defensive away record in the league but it was their counter-attacking prowess that caught the eye at Meadow Lane.

Brandy, on loan from Sheffield United, fired his first goal in the 24th minute, rounding Notts keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and guiding the ball into an empty net.

Brandy made it 2-0 in the nine minutes later, this time crashing a super finish into the top corner and he then clinched the matchball just before half-time with a simple header.

Butler then got in on the act just after the break when he headed in Sam Mantom’s cross before Westcarr grabbed a deserved goal in 54th minute following another rapid counter-attack.

McGregor did pull a goal back for Notts with a fine free-kick, but that was as good as it got for Shaun Derry’s side.

January 18, 2014

Walsall 1 Brentford 1

roger6 @ 9:00 pm Saturday 18 January 2014

The Saddlers held high flying Brentford today 1-1 in a game we probably deserved to win. DYSaddler jumped straight on the message board after the game to give this reaction:

An extremely entertaining game between two good sides and overall a fantastic advert for league 1 football. I thought towards the end of the game there was only going to be one team who would go on to win and it wasn’t our visitors. Before the game I would have more than happily taken a point – and it’s still a very good point against a very decent side at this level but you can’t help but think what might have been had Westcarr put his late chance away or the keeper hadn’t produced a superb save from Sawyers. Brentford have class in their side from start to finish – was particularly impressed with Trotta and Donaldson – who always seems to score against us, however we coped really well and scored the equaliser at a brilliant time. Second half was a sensational period of play where both teams went at each other, but us probably having the better chances to win the game. Individuals:

O’Donnell: Was a spectator for the majority, didn’t have a great deal to do and couldn’t do much with their goal as it was a good header.

J Chambers: Solid as usual before he went off.

Butler: His distribution off the floor seems to be getting slightly less accurate and let Donaldson get across him slightly too easily for their goal.

Downing: Class as usual.

Taylor: Same as J Chambers – another 8/10 performance from him which he does so often before going off injured.

Mantom: Thought he had an excellent second half – he is become a much more attacking threat getting in and around the box and not afraid to shoot, his passing was also very good.

A Chambers: Very good battling display yet again, such a vital part to the squad, always gives 110%

Lalkovic: Rightly given MOM – an absolute handful all afternoon, Brentford didn’t know how to deal with him and looked dangerous everytime he got on the ball.

Sawyers: Think the kid is class but sometimes he is just far too casual and that sometimes result in the loss of possession or him simply making the wrong decision.

Brandy: Like he has never been away – again a real handful, I don’t think many league 1 RB’s and LB’s will come up against more challenging wingers than Brandy and Lalkovic. From where I was sitting looked a good shout for a penalty but couldn’t be 100%

Westcarr – Excellent game from Westy yet again, such an intelligent player. Really good finish with the header as he could have been put off by the presence of Button. Feel he could have done slightly better with his late chance.

Out of the subs thought Mal Benning was outstanding when he came on – defensively he dealt with Donaldson extremely well whereas he provided a real attacking outlet and got forward exceptionally well. The overhead kick attempt was dross though

January 15, 2014

Walsall 1 Oldham 0

roger6 @ 7:07 pm Wednesday 15 January 2014

A big 3 points earned last night courtesy of a last-gasp penalty save has pushed the Saddlers into a play-off place.

Rusky was there and offered these thoughts on the message board:

Like a few have already said we didn’t half make hard work of that. We started the game slowly and didn’t seem to pick up any urgency/tempo until the last 10 minutes of the half.
I have to give Oldham some credit they were far better than I expected, however some wayward passes from us made their jobs much easier.
Second half we were much the better side for the first 20 minutes. Sawyer delights and frustrates in equal measures, several times the easy ball was on for Lalkovic or Westcarr but he had to try and beat another player and ended up losing it.
The goal was a well worked effort and I was very pleased for Mantom who had to be more defensive than usual.
Oldham then threw everything at us for the last 15 minutes and we seemed to invite that pressure on to us.
I will have to see the penalty again, looked a bit harsh to me.
Some thoughts of mine on some of the players. O’Donnell never shut up telling his defenders where he wanted them, the more I see of him the more I’m liking him. Great penalty save and undoubtedly wins motm. The back four were a little bit sloppy for me.
Mantom and Chambers did ok in the middle, Brandy showed brief glimpses of what he will bring to us when he gets up to speed, as I’ve already said Sawyers is a class player who needs to know when to make a pass and when to carry the ball. Lakovic made some decent runs but was getting frustrated by not being played in and Westcarr looked tired if anything. ( I did have to explain to the old boy beside me what the lower tier were singing about what part of Westcarr was offside ).
Still three points well won and I’d have taken that. Onwards and upwards

January 02, 2014

Walsall 2 Sheffield United 1

roger6 @ 3:53 pm Thursday 02 January 2014

A rare win over the Blades yesterday has put the Saddlers back in the playoff picture. Magic Man Fan was there:

5 mins went up because all subs were used (30 seconds per sub), and they add time on for goals scored, plus anything else. I don’t know why people always moan about injury time added on when at the matches, as it’s usually warranted.

As others have said, a very satisfying win, especially after going behind. Clough can moan all he likes about the pen that was given, just as we can moan about the larger number that weren’t in the first half. Clumsy oafs.

Glad made a statement to Baxendale by taking him off at half time. It might sink in more than just dropping him, that has been needed for a few weeks at least.

If anyone still doubts what Westcarr gives us, then they weren’t there yesterday. The whole team improved second half, but he was the one that pulled it all together, even further out wide. In fact his crossing ability is very useful, and I’d be tempted to keep him out there and Hewitt up top.

As PT says, Hewitt doesn’t put himself about as much as he could, but he keeps defenders occupied to give others space elsewhere, then they can do the business.

I’m glad Gray is now getting more game time, he’s always had goalscoring ability and although he missed that chance yesterday, he’s not afraid to have a pop. Him popping up with second half goals, such as at Gillingham is going to help us kill teams off.

The table is looking good, although the longer it goes on, the more it looks like only one or two play-off places will be available. The Bristol City performance and the late goal at Gillingham are the points that could cost us, otherwise we’d be right up there.

Nothing an experienced aged goal poacher wouldn’t fix. Is Jimmy Greaves still alive?

Add your comment on the message board

December 27, 2013

Bristol City 1 Walsall 0

roger6 @ 3:23 am Friday 27 December 2013

Boxing Day disappointment for the Saddlers yesterday as they crashed 1-0 to basement outfit City. JonnyOwen on the message board is bemused by the inconsistency:

Just back in from a totally inept performance at Ashton gate. Along with Preston that goes down as equal worst performance of the season. We were second to every ball against the bottom side and showed very little desire to win the the game. All very disappointing to a reasonable away following. Too much Christmas pudding or just another bad day at the office?

For the record the penalty was cheaply given away. The defence did ok but there was nothing in midfield (Featherstone was awful) and we offered nothing up front.

Why is Featherstone in the team? He has not put a foot right in the last 4 games.

Still happy to be where we are in the league but really struggle to know how we can go from a Swindon performance to today’s debacle.

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