Archive for October, 2000

Brentford 2 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 11:01 am Saturday 28 October 2000

A poor performance from the Saddlers today in the capital, meaning I’m still yet to see them win this season. The decision to have another pint in the pub the other side of the A4 meant I missed the first 70 seconds – and accordingly, Paul Hall’s only useful contribution of the match, a cross that evaded everyone. Sadly for Walsall Brentford went straight up the other end and Andy Scott buried a header to make it 1-0.

Brentford didn’t look all that threatening going forward, but were quite solid throughout the match, meaning Walsall were crying out for some invention from somewhere. We did get back on level terms after 12 minutes, not that it was possible to see much from the away terraces, which are below pitch level bizarrely. Darren Byfield scored after a goal-mouth scramble.

17 minutes gone and real quality. Unfortuately from Brentford. Lad called Evans picked up the ball 25 yards out, nothing on for him, so he smacked in a shot, which crashed into the top corner, giving Carl Emberson no chance.

2-1 it remained, Walsall had lots of the ball, but there was very little to get excited about. Too many players were below par today, Brightwell’s distribution at times was diabolic, Hall as mentioned could have stayed at home, poor old Jorge was limping around all over the place, and Zigor and Tom kept shouting at each other.

The Saddlers drop to second, Reading taking over following a 4-3 win over basement club Oxford. And guess who we’ve got next week? The Royals, and the return to Bescot of Mr Adrian Viveash, who showed his excitement by scoring today. Unfortunately at the wrong end.

Memo to Paul Taylor: time to dig out that loan-signings book. It’s served us well in the last 3 seasons, perhaps we can unearth an attacking dynamo currently plying his trade in the Estonian second division.

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Wycombe 3 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 11:02 am Wednesday 25 October 2000

Leaders Walsall started brightly and put Wycombe under pressure from the off.

A great ball from Darren Wrack found Darren Byfield but Wycombe keeper Martin Taylor was off his line quickly to block the effort.
On 11 minutes Thomas Bennett struck a 25-yard shot just wide of Taylor’s goal.

With Wycombe’s former Saddler Andy Rammell hoping to get a touch of the ball it was 12 minutes before he exchanged passes with Keith Ryan, but the attack was quickly broken up by Andy Tilson. Wanderers had to rely on their tried and tested back four to keep Walsall at bay, but out of nothing Jermaine McSporran hit a 25-yard right foot scorcher that Walsall keeper James Walker punched away with both fists.

On 20 minutes McSporran raced away down the Wycombe left to be fouled by Ian Roper. From the resultant free-kick Michael Simpson sent in a shot that went in off the far post to give Wycombe the lead on 23 minutes against the run of play.

Mark Rogers was caught out and a cross from Walsall’s Jorge Leitao was scrambled away by Jamie Bates with Byfield closing in on 30 minutes.

But two minutes later Rogers committed himself early and lost out to Pedro Matias who crossed from the left for Wrack to volley home on 32 minutes. The first yellow card of the afternoon was shown when McSporran was felled by Ian Brightwell who went straight through the Wycombe man as he attempted to turn the defender.

From the free-kick Ryan put his shot wide from 14 yards with Walker well beaten. The second yellow card went to Walsall’s Bennett for thundering into Steve Brown. As Wrack was substituted by Paul Hall, Bates’s free-kick almost caught out Walker, who clung on to the ball at the second attempt.

At the start of the second half Wanderers put on Jason Cousins for Rogers.

Walsall almost took the lead when Taylor collided with Paul McCarthy as Bates cleared for a corner on 49 minutes. From the corner Tilson saw his header tipped over by Taylor.

Wycombe went back in front when McSporran crossed from the left for Rammell to tuck away at the near post on 52 minutes.

From the restart Matias sent in a 25 yard shot which flew over the bar.

Taylor pulled off another great save, this time from Walsall skipper Bennett, flinging himself to his left.

At the other end Danny Senda brought the best out of Walker, but from the resulting corner, Rammell headed his second goal to put Wycombe 3-1 up after 56 minutes.

McSporran should have made it 4-1 when he rounded the Saddlers defence only to shoot straight at Walker on 58 minutes. Brett Angell replaced Byfield for Walsall on 62 minutes after the former Villa man had clattered into Taylor attempting to reach a 50/50 ball.

Three corners in a row for Walsall should have brought dividends but Angell scooped his effort wide at the far post.

A free-kick by Simpson found Ryan who’s shot on the turn just missed the far post on 72 minutes.

Walsall’s Bukran got clear on the Wycombe 18 yard area but Taylor pulled out a great save to deny the midfielder on 77 minutes.

A Simpson corner found the head of McCarthy who’s power header was pushed out by visiting keeper Walker.

McSporran got away down the left and brought a good diving save from Walker on 87 minutes as Walsall still threw men forward.

But it was Wanderers’ good second half performance that sent Walsall to their second league defeat of the season.

Walsall 3 Stoke City 0

roger6 @ 11:02 am Wednesday 25 October 2000

Stoke manager Gudjon Thordarson has warned heads could roll as he fired some soul-searching questions at his players in the wake of last night’s sorry capitulation at Walsall.
Thordarson watched helpless as his side was overrun and outclassed on their way to a dreadful 3-0 defeat at the Second Division leaders.
“I think some of them haven’t got the right attitude,” he insisted. “We have got to face up to what we are dealing with and it’s my job to sort it out.
“We have got a big catch-up job to do on the other teams and it’s clear we have got to strengthen.
“It’s obvious we cannot continue like that. But it’s also important to stay cool and calm. I still believe we are capable of being among the best.”
Thordarson revealed he tried to have last night’s game abandoned as the fixture was delayed by two power cuts – one starting in the half-time interval and lasting nearly 30 minutes, the second starting just after the resumption and lasting 18 minutes.
“At first the referee said he would give them 10 minutes to sort it out,” said Thordarson. “But he kept changing his mind to give them more time to get the lights on. Once he gives a decision he should stick to it.”
The blackout was caused by a blown fuse inside the Bescot Stadium, but the game eventually continued when power was re-routed to the floodlights.
City defender Mikael Hansson was undergoing tests today after being taken to hospital following a serious-looking shoulder injury.

Walsall 1 Peterborough 1

roger6 @ 11:03 am Wednesday 18 October 2000

A late goal from Pedro Matias saved Walsall’s blushes just as they looked to be heading for their second league defeat of the season.

The Spanish winger gathered the ball when it ran loose, following a free-kick by Gabor Bukran and unleased a snap right-footed shot which left keeper Mark Tyler no chance.

That was in the 81st minute, but the turning point had come just nine minutes earlier when Darren Byfield replaced the ineffective Brett Angell up front.

The former Aston Villa striker immediately showed his pace and skill, leaving fans to wonder why manager Ray Graydon had not brought him on earlier.

Byfield went close with a 79th minute cross-shot from a flick on by Jorge Leitao and the Peterborough defence was immediately on edge.

Posh, who had lost their previous four away games without scoring a goal, couldn’t believe their luck in the opening stages.

Angell incredibly missed an open goal from brilliant work in the 6th minute by Leitao.

But four minutes later it was the Portugese striker’s turn to miss blatantly from Angell’s pass and when the ball ran on to Matias his shot was saved by Tyler.

But Posh capitalised in the 15th minute.

Helped by slack marking on the part of the home defence, experienced David Oldfield went clear from Richard Forsyth’s pass and coolly placed the ball out of James Walker’s reach.

It was a game that seldom inspired and chances were few.

Walsall barely looked like Division Two leaders and only a low shot by skipper Tom Bennett, easily saved by Tyler, gave Posh any worries.

The visitors were equally lacklustre, although a 39th minute free-kick by Forsyth was deflected over by Walsall’s splendid defender Andy Tillson.

Four minutes after half time Posh appealed in vain for a penalty when Zigor Aranalde tackled their new striker Leon McKenzie, but the Spanish defender looked to have taken the ball.

Peterborough’s Dean Hooper and Walsall’s Aranalde both received yellow cards for rash tackles and the second half action was low key, although David Farrell had a fierce left-foot shot beaten away by Walker.

At the other end Leitao’s shot on the turn was narrowly wide.

When Walker missed a cross by Oldfield, Aranalde was on hand to clear the danger and Walsall lived again for Matias to notch that all important late equaliser.

Walsall 0 Bristol City 0

roger6 @ 11:03 am Saturday 14 October 2000

A game that saw both sides at their defensive best, but sadly no goals for the bumper Bescot crowd. Bristol City had the best chance of the game, when errors from Jim Walker and Tony Barras presented two chances to Rodruigez with an open goal to aim at, but he stumbled and the opportunity went.

Despite the result Walsall extend their lead at the top to 4 points, as Bury crashed 4-0 at Millwall. Ex Saddlers Martin Butler and a lad called Viveash netted the goals for Reading who surged into second after beating Wycombe. Elsewhere ex Saddlers Jamie Forrester was also on the scoresheet for Northampton.

Andy Tillson played superbly for the Saddlers, as did Tom Bennett, spraying the ball about well. But there was a fair amount of miscontrol, which Sir Ray attributed afterwards on Radio WM to a dodgy playing surface. Memo to the Bescot powers-that-be: can we get the pitch sorted, it looked terrible today, and last season it also cut up really early in the season, meaning we got relegated. OK, maybe the last bit’s not true, but if they can improve the surface at Manchester United, who had similar trouble last year, perhaps we can do it too.

Bristol City looked a very well-organised side, with Tinnion running things in midfield. Up front a bit lightweight, but they were missing Tony Thorpe, who bagged a hat-trick in their last game. For the Saddlers, Zigor showed the evidence fans on the message board had written about, improving with every game, although Jorge was a bit disappointing. Despite a lot of running, it did look as though his mind was elsewhere. Let’s hope not.

On a personal note I’ve now seen Walsall live twice this season, at Luton and today. Both times, no goals. Let’s hope this isn’t an omen for my next encounter – Brentford away.

Colchester 0 Walsall 2

roger6 @ 11:04 am Tuesday 10 October 2000

Walsall, despite playing most of the match with only 10 men, eased to a comfortable victory over out of sorts Colchester at Layer Road.

The division two pacesetters Walsall were rocked by the dismissal of defender Tony Barras after only 16 minutes for a professional foul on U’s striker Karl Duguid .

But Ray Graydon’s men bounced back impressively and they had effectively won this game by half-time thanks to goals from target man Brett Angell and Portuguese striker Jorge Leitao.

The Saddlers therefore, strengthened their position at the top of the table, in fact they have lost just once in the league this season against Bury.

Yet, the warning bells must have been sounding early on when they were reduced to 10 men after Duguid had his heels clipped by Barras when homing in on goal.

Referee Mark Halsey waved play on as Mick Stockwell pounced on the loose ball, but when the attack broke down, the referee blew his whistle for a free-kick and summoned Barras to his side.

It was a borderline decision but Mr Halsey adjudged that Barras was the last defender between Duguid and the goal, so he flashed the red card for a professional foul, and the Midlanders faced the last 74 minutes with just 10 men.

However, their spirits rose when Angell headed home Paul Hall ‘s cross into the top corner of the net just four minutes later.

It was Angell’s sixth goal of the season.

Before half-time, Angell was sacrificed by manager Graydon who made a tactical switch when bringing on defender Ian Roper for the big man.

Roper bolstered the defence, but shortly afterwards Walsall were celebrating a second goal following a comedy of errors from the home team.

Stand-in skipper Jason Dozzell and keeper Simon Brown got into a terrible mix-up on the edge of the six-yard box and the ball broke for Leitao who merely had to sweep the ball home into an empty net from less than a yard from goal..

Hapless Colchester, now without a win in their last eight matches, never looked like finding their way back into this contest despite their numerical advantage.

In fact, the U’s mustered just one effort on target all match. This was a tame shot from substitute Tony Lock in the final minute of normal time which visiting keeper James Walker saved with ease.

After the match, disappointed Colchester manager Steve Whitton said : “Everyone is entitled to be moaning after this performance.

“We fell to pieces when they got their man sent off, and I am at a loss to explain why at the moment.

“Our passing was sloppy, and we made it very difficult for ourselves,” added Whitton.

By comparison, Walsall manager Ray Graydon was delighted with the performance and result.

” This was a magnificent team performance. We restricted Colchester to literally no shots of any note,” said Graydon

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