Archive for November, 2001

Bradford 2 Walsall 0

roger6 @ 12:33 am Saturday 17 November 2001

No real surprise at Bradford today as Walsall went down 2-0 to one of the division’s form sides. The crunch games are the ones that follow all against sides in the bottom half – Wimbledon in midweek, then Sheffield United, Rotherham and Barnsley.
Next up – Wimbledon on Tuesday night. The Dons have not won a midweek league game for four years – apparently! So c’mon Saddlers fans, anyone who can get down to Selhurst come down.
Your views on the game
Walker, Aranalde, Barras, Carbon, Brightwell (Gadsby 46), Bennett, Thogersen, Matias, Angell, Wrack, Byfield (Leitao 68)
Match report
Spanish striker Juanjo made a dream start to his Bradford career by scoring a goal seven minutes after coming on as a substitute on his debut as the Bantams beat Walsall 2-0. The former Barcelona player, signed on a free transfer from manager Jim Jefferies’ former club Hearts three weeks ago, scored the vital second goal that ensured City gained a deserved victory and extended their unbeaten run to five league matches. Walsall were pressing hard for an equaliser when Jefferies brought on Juanjo after 72 minutes to replace Robbie Blake. The substitution was an immediate success as the striker, who can also play on the wing, scored for his new club with a header just inside the far post from Matthew Etherington’s left-wing cross.
Although Bradford deserved their win the result was in doubt until Juanjo’s goal. They had taken a half-time lead with a goal from leading scorer Eoin Jess in the 34th minute. He took a pass from Gunnar Halle and scored with a 20-yard shot that was deflected past goalkeeper James Walker by Zigor Aranalde. Bradford deserved their lead after dominating the first half and would have gone ahead earlier but for some good work by Walker. Etherington, on-loan from Spurs, cut in from the left in the second minute but the goalkeeper turned away his shot for the first of five first-half corners that Bradford gained. Then the home side had two goalbound efforts stopped on the line inside two minutes. First, Andy Tod saw his header blocked on the line when Walsall failed to clear Gary Locke’s corner. Then, when Bradford gained a second corner defender Andy Myers saw his header stopped on the line from Etherington’s inswinging flag kick.
Walker did well to keep out a 30-yard shot from Locke in the 19th minute and also dived to keep out Jess’ shot after 28 minutes.
He had no chance with the goal and a minute later Pedro Matias had the ball in the net for Walsall only to be ruled offside.
Darren Byfield and Darren Wrack caused problems for Bradford’s none-too-sure defence in the second half before Juanjo’s goal put the result beyond doubt.

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Walsall 2 Forest 0

roger6 @ 12:34 am Sunday 11 November 2001

A sweet night for any Saddlers fan like me who has a Forest fan as a mate. Even if that mate is 3,000 miles away on a trip-of-a-lifetime world tour avoiding the media recession. Walsall triumphed tonight 2-0 against an admittedly below strength Forest side shorn of 4 players on international duty. But a win is a win, and the 3 points came courtesy of a 6 minutes spell midway through the first half, during which Pedro Matias and Brett Angel scored the crucial goals.
The second half saw the Saddlers withstand early Forest pressure, but in a rare occurrence this season the backline held firm, and a clean sheet will be almost as pleasing to Sir Ray as the win. Which, incidentally, lifts us clear of the dropzone, now with a growing points buffer on the bottom two sides, Barnsley and Stockport.
For those not at Bescot tonight: to the four of you who’ve got ITV Digital, well done. For those rest who haven’t, and missed Radio 5′s commentary – here is Teamtalk’s report, with fans reaction and other reports available Monday morning.
Your views on the game
Walker , Aranalde , Barras , Gadsby , Carbon (Roper 49) , Bennett , Thogersen , Matias , Angell (Simpson 67) , Wrack , Byfield (Leitao 74)
Match report
Goals from Pedro Matias and Brett Angell gave Walsall a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest and extended their unbeaten run to three games.
Matias seized on some slack marking on 27 minutes to open the scoring and Angell finished a slick move six minutes later to double the advantage, and although Forest went close through Jack Lester and David Johnson, a Darren Byfield-inspired Walsall held on for the points, and a first-ever league win over their Midlands rivals.
Walsall took the early initiative after Forest’s ambitious 50-yard shot straight from the kick-off, and put the visitors under early pressure as Byfield quickly established himself as a major threat to Forest’s goal.
A weak header from Byfield on eight minutes prompted Forest to get forward more, and Lester wasted two great chances on goal, firing wide and then over after finding rather more space than he should have in the Walsall area.
Darren Wrack tested Forest keeper Darren Ward with a curling 25-yard left-foot strike, before Lester again threatened, striding past Matt Carbon before opting for power rather than placement and drilling the ball straight at keeper Jimmy Walker.
Forest were quickly back into their stride after a Byfield shot flashed wide, and a sweeping cross-field move allowed Alan Rogers to drill in a low shot from the left which narrowly escaped the incoming Lester and was blocked by Walker, and though Johnson reacted quickly to the loose ball, Walker redeemed himself with a fine point-blank save, injuring his hand in the progress. Ray Graydon had chosen not to name a goalkeeper amongst his five substitutes.
Johnson was then freed by Andy Gray, but a fine last-ditch tackle from Carbon eliminated that danger, despite the protests for a penalty.
Walsall it was who broke the deadlock on 27 minutes however, as slack marking allowed Zigor Aranalde to pick out Matias in the area. The former Real Madrid and Tranmere ace calmly drew Ward, before slotting the ball past him and into the far corner of the net.
Walsall continued to threaten as Byfield beat the offside trap, but was forced to check his run as Ward came out. Angell reacted quickly, but put the ball over the bar.
A slick move five minutes later saw Walsall double the lead. Byfield was released down the right flank, and his low first-time cross was met by Angell, who slid the ball inside the far post.
Forest came out firing after the break, and skipper Chris Bart-Williams watched a 30-yard free-kick drop just over the bar, before Aranalde came to his team’s rescue by hacking Johnson’s shot off the line after good work by Rogers.
Lester and Johnson continued to be frustrated in their efforts to break the deadlock, whilst Walsall continued to search for a third goal to kill off any hopes of a Forest revival, but despite the introduction of Jorge Leitao for Byfield, a couple of wasted chances from Fitzroy Simpson were all The Saddlers could muster, and as the clock ticked on towards full-time, it was clear that Walsall’s first-half double was enough to take the points – their first-ever league points gained from Nottingham Forest.

Walsall 2 Palace 2

roger6 @ 12:34 am Monday 05 November 2001

Tony Barras is now Walsall’s leading scorer this season after his brace ensured the Saddlers secured a well-deserved point against the high-flying Eagles at Bescot on Saturday. Match reaction from the message board and links to reports below:
Paul G – Somehow you knew we would not hang onto that. But still a good performance from most and if we can pick up points from these games and beat the teams around us we will be OK. At least we now know what Adophile looks like. Seems like an exact clone of Byfield in the short time he had on the pitch. It would have been nice to put him on in place of Angell ten minutes earlier and use a bit of pace to attack the Palace defence as they went into the final 15 minutes. I still think Bennett and Thorygson are a bit too similar in the middle. Very solid though for at least 75% of the match. We did lose the midfield a bit in the period leading up to the second palace equaliser. Well playerd Tom Bennett over both of this weeks games. The form of 99-00 is starting to re-appear.
ShifnalSaddler – Good point today, we played well, can see why Palace are where they are. We’ve sorted a couple of problems out, Carbon adds pace at the back, essential for 442, Bennett is fit again and back in form. Angell, despite his limitations has given Byfield better support than he has had previously. The main problem is at left back, hopefully Biancalani will improve things there. We need Jorge fit in mind and body as well. Interestingly, all the teams in the bottom half, save Rotherham, have still to visit Bescot.
I think we’ll be OK.
MattyV – One of the most entertaining games seen at the Bescot for a while!! We’d have all settled for 2-2 before the game but I was suprised how well we played, looking pretty solid throughout the team (with the exception of left back). I think the central midfield pairing of Bennett and Thorygson complement each other, and the rest of the team well. Perhaps the “spark” attacking wise from the centre of midfield has gone but this isnt really a bad thing when you play two out and out attacking wingers. I’ll probably get slated for this but if Tony B hadnt scored two goals then Bennett would have been up there for man of the match. Carbon seems to be proving Graydon right at the moment with two decent displays – almost as good as Chettle today against, supposingly, the hottest strike force outside the Premiership.

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