Archive for August, 2002

Junior Arrives But Saddlers Slip

roger6 @ 12:06 am Saturday 31 August 2002

Brazilian striker Junior finally got clearance to play, but even his second half appearance failed to prevent Walsall slipping 2-0 today at home to Reading, in comfortably their worst performance of the season.
Robert Martinez received his marching orders late on for a 2nd bookable offence, in a game that saw more Walsall players booked for dissent – something manager Colin Lee will no doubt be looking at this week.

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Brighton 0 Walsall 2

roger6 @ 12:06 am Monday 26 August 2002

Walsall completed another successful Bank Holiday weekend returning to Bescot tonight with six points from wins over Forest and Brighton. Today by all accounts Brighton looked a poor side – and thanks to two goals in a minute early in the first half, from Steve Corica and Jorge Leitao, the points never looked like going anywhere else.
The other notable incident of the game was some extraordinary refereeing in the second half – where four Saddlers players were cautioned after an innocuous challenge by defender Danny Hay. Make your views known on the message board.

Walsall 2 Forest 1

roger6 @ 12:07 am Saturday 24 August 2002

A late winner from Darren Wrack gave Walsall their first win of the season in a match that saw Forest play for over an hour with 10 men. Danny Sonner gave the Saddlers the lead from the spot after 25 minutes, after Danny Hay’s header had been handled on the line by Helde, who was duly sent off.
Thereafter Walsall failed to take a number of chances and Forest equalised 8 minutes from time when Prutton’s long range shot was deflected past Walker by the unfortunate Hay. Just when it looked as though we’d chucked two points away, good work from substitute Martinez set up Leitao in the box – he fed Wrack who couldn’t miss.

Sheff Utd Walsall 1

roger6 @ 12:07 am Saturday 17 August 2002

Off the bottom! And a well deserved point as under-strength Saddlers, down to the bare bones, went to Bramall Lane, and for the second time in 4 months, came away with some spoils. Not quite the 1-0 victory that secured survival in April, but nonetheless a welcome bonus for fans who expected the worst after our opening two defeats and injuries hitting the squad.
Steve Corica got the goal midway through the first half, cancelled out by Blades’ equaliser shortly before halftime. The second 45 saw Danny Hay limp off, adding to Walsall’s treatment-table problems, but the lads held out – and Millwall now prop up the table.
On the transfer front manager Colin Lee says he has two players in mind, both of whom are likely to arrive this week, possibly on a non-contract basis. A visit to the GiveMeFootball.com will show you just how many players are available.

Walsall 0 Ipswich 2

roger6 @ 12:08 am Saturday 10 August 2002

Strange things – opening days of the season. This time last year, give or take a week, ex Saddler Michael Ricketts stunned the football world as Premiership newboys Bolton thumped Leicester 5-0. Today, as Walsall were getting beaten 2-0 at the reduced-capacity Bescot, down in London ex Saddler Darren Byfield, surprisingly sold on transfer deadline day back in March amidst farcical scenes involving broken fax machines in service stations, scored 4 goals for his new club Rotherham as the Millers thumped Millwall 6-0. How many shocks lie in the season ahead?
From the game at Bescot today not a lot to be too downhearted about. Encouraging displays from most areas of the team; Jim Walker superb as ever, Bazeley looks like he’ll add more than Brightwell did last time out; Sonner better than Bennett; and late on Herivelto threatened the Ipswich backline enough to warrant a full ninety sooner rather than later. Whilst Gary Birch enjoyed a promising start – winning a lot in the air, although strike partner Jorge showed first day rustiness, perhaps the legacy of a summer on the pies and ale.
I’ll stick my neck out on opening day and say the three relegated teams from the top flight, Derby, Leicester and Ipswich, will contest the top 3 spots in this division – and by some margin – so a 2-0 opening defeat is no disgrace. As befits a team that boasts more or less the same squad that came 5th in the Premiership two seasons ago, the East Anglians looked cultured on the ball, bossed the midfield, and had, with the exception of Jimmy Walker, the best 10 players on the pitch.

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