Archive for September, 2002

Fitz Last Stand

roger6 @ 12:03 am Sunday 29 September 2002

A match-winning display by contract-less Fitzroy Simpson was the talking point at Bescot this weekend. His goal on the stroke of half-time secured back-to-back wins for Colin Lee’s men, but afterwards on Radio WM Fitz laid into the Walsall board. Simpson stated that in the 16 games he has played under Lee Walsall have lost only once, and said he was no longer going to play for the Saddlers for free. With categoric statements from inside the club saying no contract will be offered, Saddlers fans are resigned to seeing the talisman depart this week for one of our first division rivals, probably Brighton. The board seem to be losing the PR battle in this one – we’d suggest a definitive statement this week outlining his wage demands, and why exactly Walsall FC can’t afford them.
On the pitch Walsall had good first half chances before hanging on a little against a shot-shy Wednesday attack in the second period. Reaction from the message board:
Mark W – Fantastic result but we looked completely knackered for the last 20 mins. Wednesday looked much fitter than us.1-1 would have been a fair result as we constantly gave the ball away in the second half.Wright didn’t put a foot right–why no Pedro?
Another bizarre situation in the history of wfc-why not give a contract to a player who makes an active contribution to the side but give ones to “players” who are never likely to figure?
Very happy tonight but it does’nt bode well.A good side would have destroyed us in the second half.
Stu – Nice to see us defend like a 1st division side. We played like a unit, put men behind the ball and forced the opposition to do something special to break us down. They couldn’t do that. I did think we should have held on to the ball longer in the last 15 minutes, sometimes we seem to think we have to counter attack and score within 10 seconds. We need to try and kill the time a bit more, slow things down and play keep-ball.


Lions 0 Walsall 3

roger6 @ 12:04 am Saturday 21 September 2002

Apologies for upthesaddlers pre-match prediction of a 3-1 Saddlers win – we were generous enough to give Millwall a goal. After Walsall’s best away performance for many years today, it is all smiles back around Bescot as Walsall thumped the Londoners with three quality goals without reply.
Colin Lee replaced Carbon with Roper at the back, with Fitzroy Simpson in for the suspended Sonner. Surprisingly Darren Wrack played on the left, Fitz on the right. The Saddlers ran out to the sounds of one of football’s loudest PA systems, and a feast of football followed.
After a quiet start the game came to live as Walsall forced a series of corners. Then as the match ebbed, the ball went out wide right to Steve Corica, his pinpoint cross was met brilliantly by Aussie David Zdrilic – rare to see a header beat a keeper from so far out, but brilliantly placed into the top corner. Steve Claridge then fell over, which he spent most of the match doing, to cries of “Donkey”, “Get your pension out” and “If you were a horse you’d be shot”. Then 35 minutes in the ball was held up superbly by Jorge Leitao on halfway, his pass fed Darren Wrack bursting down the wing, we all groaned as he cut inside, but he unleashed a blockbuster that flew into the net leaving Tony Warner floundering. Unluckiest man of the half was Darren Bazelely, who took a full ball in the guts standing a yard away from a Danny Hay clearance, then two minutes later clashed heads on the halfway line. With our supporters now in full cry, the first half was complete when Millwall’s best player, Paul Ifill, dived in the box and was booked.
Second half Millwall came at us, as you’d expect. The lads behind me were worried we were defending too deep, but Danny Hay and Ian Roper looked very solid. Hay took several knocks and was forced off replaced by Tony Barras on 65 minutes. On 75 minutes good work down the right saw a ball in from Corica on the edge of the box, the ball broke kindly and Portugese man of war Jorge Leitao had just the keeper to beat. He coolly slotted home, to send the fans directly above him wild with delight. Cries of “Cheer up Mark McGhee” rang out, and the last ten minutes were played out in relative comfort. Keeper Warner did well to tip over a sizzling Darren Wrack shot from the edge of the box, but minutes later Warner aptly summarised Millwall’s woeful afternoon when he fell flat on his face taking a goal-kick.
Sensational afternoon for the Saddlers, we roar up the table to 15th, Zdrilic looked class – he shoots on sight, just the sort of striker we need, Jorge ran his socks off, Steve Corica set up two of the goals, Wrack showed his goal-scoring touch of 98-99 might be coming back, and Zigor didn’t put a foot wrong! If they play like this every week, the house full signs at Bescot will be dusted off and stay up for the season!
Were you watching Dennis Wise?

Four Straight Defeats

roger6 @ 12:04 am Tuesday 17 September 2002

Goals tonight at the Bescot, unfortunately Walsall on the wrong end of four of them as the goal drought ended in a spectacular but defensively disastrous style. Darren Byfield sealed a successful return to the club he left in March with two first-half goals. Aussie striker David Zdrilic got his first goals for us, and we came back from 3-1 down to 3-3, but ultimately it wasn’t enough, as Zigor conceded a penalty on 77 minutes and Alan Lee powerfully slotted home.
What now for the team and boss Colin Lee? Four straight defeats, some of which against the division’s weaker sides. He’s come in for criticism for his tactics on this site’s message board. Only consolation is with both Brighton and Grimsby losing tonight, Walsall look to be in for a season of avoiding that third relegation place.

Walsall 0 Bradford 1

roger6 @ 12:05 am Saturday 14 September 2002

Walsall played their best football of the season today, but once again failed to find the net and slipped to their third successive league defeat. Andy Gray’s 53rd minute winner came after Walsall had dominated the first half – and despite a succession of corners in the closing minutes, the Saddlers couldn’t grab a point.
Earlier in the day Walsall were drawn away at Nottingham Forest in the second round of the Worthington Cup.

Walsall 1 Shrewsbury 0

roger6 @ 12:05 am Wednesday 11 September 2002

It could, and should, have been more – but Walsall did the minimum Tuesday night and saw off 3rd division Shrewsbury to book a 2nd round tie against who knows. The match wasn’t overshadowed by scenes as disgraceful as the Luton fans invading the pitch at Watford, but there were problems outside Bescot both before and after the game – read more on this site’s message board. As to the game itself – Geoff Whiting offers his post-match views:
other than a well-crafted goal ( OUT OF THE BLUE, hardly on the cards was it ? ), Junior header against the bar, at least 2 chances blown from about 3 YARDS out, and a fair old heap of utter garbage in between. Thank God the Shrews didn’t get an equaliser towards the end – I could not have sat through 30 more minutes of that crap.
I’d like to know what exactly were our tactics supposed to be tonight – CL & SH, any answers ? This is becoming embarrassing – and if tonight’s performance is repeated against Bradford & Rotherham I can see only two defeats – even though both of these games will be Six Pointers. There is a lot of work for CL to do with the players b4 Saturday if tonight is anything to go by.

Watford 2 Walsall 0

roger6 @ 12:05 am Saturday 07 September 2002

An unhappy return for Colin Lee to his former club as Walsall crashed 2-0 at Watford after dominating the first half. And more discipline problems for the gaffer after Danny Sonner was sent off late on – the second game running a Saddlers player has been dismissed. Shifnal Saddler offers this analysis:
We played loads better than we did against Brighton, shows the difference in the respective opposition I suppose. Played well first half, one great chance for Jorge, a few half chances, lots of pressure, very pretty but not much of a cutting edge. Lots of tempting crosses, oh for a Rambo or a George Andrews who would get to the ball come what may.
First ten/fifteen minutes second half well on top, Bazeley running riot, but we didn’t score, powder puffs in the box again, then the game was changed by a Watford sub, Anthony MacNamee, MOTM, who came on, forced Bazeley back much deeper and we had no response to it. Good management by whoever is running Watford.
Sonner is a half wit, but no one is surprised surely, his reputation is well known. I predicted he would serve his first suspension in September, but at this rate his second could be in October.
The centre defence looked very solid, but one mistake let Watford in. Lots of pressure on a defence if the attack can’t score. Second goal was fair enough, we’d sent everyone forward to get an equaliser, got caught out, but I wonder how many WFC players could have finished as clinically as Foley?
The main problems as I see them are:-
1) squad way too thin
2) where do we play Corica to get the best out of his talents
3) how do we get Jorge to play to the level we know he is capable of
4) how can we bury Aranalde’s body and rest safe in the knowledge that it will never be found and we will never be implicated in his disappearance. Let’s hope Zdrillic and/or Junior prove good signings.
Incidentally, why no Gary Birch today, even on the bench? Injured?
I still think we will be OK though.

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