Archive for October, 2002

Walsall 3 Palace 4

roger6 @ 12:00 am Tuesday 29 October 2002

Last minute robbery at the Bescot – Walsall have again scored three at home in the league, for the third time this season, and failed to win. Not only that, they’ve just cost your reporter 90 quid, as I had them in a treble with Portsmouth and Luton, who both came in.
Questions will be asked – despite the recent optimism, including talk of aiming for the Premiership – the Saddlers lie just four points of the relegation zone. Let’s see the faith surging back through the veins with a thumping win over Stoke at Bescot on Saturday. Although that won’t be easy, as word is their new manager will be in place within 24 hours.
Final word though, despite the disappointing result, to super Jimmy Walker, celebrating his 400th appearance tonight. Here’s to another 400!

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Coventry 0 Walsall 0

roger6 @ 12:01 am Sunday 27 October 2002

creditable point at Highfield Road on Saturday saw the Saddlers consolidate their place away from the relegation zone, with two home games now to look forward to this week. Depending on which accounts you read Walsall either had Jimmy Walker to thank for the point, or Jorge Leitao was unlucky not to take numerous chances to seal a memorable win. Thankfully though nowadays we don’t have to rely on one lazy journalist’s view – so take your pick from these thoughts from the message board or any of the match reports listed:
Sharky61 – Had enough chances today but to be fair so did they, a point apiece seems fair enough. The defence must take the plaudits tonight. Roper was up for it from the start and Ziggy gets better every game. Coventry have some usefull youngsters in Bothroyd and McSheffrey and players like Saffri and Chippo you should never underestimate. Good turnout of Saddlers fans, loved it when they asked the Cov fans “Shall we sing a song for you” followed by “City Clap Clap Clap”.
Stu – I thought it was a solid performance yesterday. We did appear to lack a bit of cutting edge at times, but I think thats coz they didn’t seem to bad at the back. And Konjic and Davenport won everything in the air, as you’d expect two 6ft3 centre halves to do, so I was puzzled that we still knocked the occasional long ball.
Deano – As for the game, we started well but did fade a little. Another classy game for Roper- i will admit that there were times when you would hear his name in the team and groan, but now i would have him as first choice every time. You expect him to make the challenges running back and he has to be applauded for his commitment.

Walsall 3 Preston 3

roger6 @ 12:01 am Monday 21 October 2002

Incident-packed at the Bescot on Saturday; two to the good, seemingly heading for a comfortable win, then Jim gets sent off for handling outside the area, and an hour later it has all finished 3-3 with Preston. Reaction from the message board:
Neil Ravenscroft – I’d give Jorge 10 as well for the best exhibition of front running I’ve ever seen from a Walsall player. He was absolutely superb and should have got another penalty when brought down by Broomes in the 2nd half.
Phil G – For 70 minutes, with 11 and then 10 men, we dominated the game and looked really good going forward. Preston looked very average. At 2-0, when Jimmy went off, they had a brief good spell and got the goal, but we settled down and deservedly went in 2 up again. After the break we took the game to them and you couldn’t tell we had one less player, and I think we were unlucky not to score again, particularly when Corica side footed a tame shot at the keeper. But for some reason, we suddenly decided to defend deeper, perhaps it was when Leitao went off and nearly every ball forward was going straight to a Preston defender. Although we deserved to win the match, and I understand it is going to be harder when you lose a man, I feel we gave Preston too much respect, which led to our downfall.
Paul G – Apart from the Boli overhead against Bournemouth I have never seen a better goal at Bescot than Juniors today. If not for the sending off we would surely have won that game easily. For the second game running a long ball through the middle has split our defence and given an opposition striker a one on one chance. If Jimmy had not smothered the ball outside the area he would have been lobbed again. Is he coming off his line too quickly?

Burnley 2 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 12:02 am Wednesday 16 October 2002

A spirited performance at Burnley by all accounts ended in a narrow 2-1 defeat, with our strikers not taking all the chances presented, and keeper Jimmy Walker in fine form. Reports from the message board on the game:
Sheffield Saddler – I wish Zdrillic would have been able to play as I think he would have made a big difference today. Still think Leitao and Zdrillic are the only strikers we have or will score week in week out.
Shifnal Saddler – Zigor was a massive weakness yesterday. He constantly went AWOL and without Wrack to protect him we were ripped apart down our left side. Attack after attack from Burnley came down our left flank. It seemed obvious to me that they knew our weakness and were out to exploit it, just as Reading, Ipswich and Wolves in particular did earlier. Well done to Burnley for getting the tactics right, but why did CL take Wrack away from Aranalde. We’ve looked solid there lately, the Rotherham game apart, and yesterday we were a shambles.

Go and Go Now

roger6 @ 12:02 am Wednesday 16 October 2002

18 months ago when Sven took charge, we won our first few games, and everything looked rosy, the pariahs of the English press heralded the Swede as the saviour of English football. A poor World Cup, culminating in a desparately disappointing exit to Brazil, and tonight’s debacle against lame Macedonia, would be enough to demand the exit of Mr Eriksson. But those in themselves would not be the right reasons. Try these:
Sven should go because his eye has never been on the ball. He is more interesting in banging the next tasty bird who catches his eye. His tactical masterpieces are non-existent; he hasn’t solved England’s left sided problem, despite using more than 50 players in less than 2 year’s in charge. The bloke is more interested in fermenting his £3 million a year England income with any quick buck he can make; autobiographies, Playstation games; crappy suits from Burtons – anything that will swell his Italian bank’s coffers.
Tonight’s performance against Macedonia was the final straw. OK, pony-tailed Seaman made his seventh major goalkeeping error – to add to the calamitous “off his line” cock-ups against Brazil, Nayim, Hamann, that bloke in the Premiership the other week, etc. How many international keepers get beaten straight from a corner? No doubt his excuse squad – Bob Wilson et al will be wheeled out to claim it was yet another “fluke goal” that “no keeper in the world would have saved”. That misses the point. Seaman lost it when he decided it was prudent to concentrate on being a media celebrity rather than focus on on-the-pitch activities. Maybe we could forgive him if his arrogance didn’t restrict him from changing that ridiculous haircut.
We need a manager who puts his heart into England. Not a mercenary motivated primarily by his next shag, or his next 100k in income. The English FA need to appoint a decent English coach – Mclaren springs to mind – and fast, and end the suffering of all thorough English fans who had to suffer in pubs across the land tonight. And that doesn’t mean resorting to Terry “conman” Venables – whose dodgy dealings allegedly continue at Leeds with the signing of Okon – clinically unfit yet who receives a 3-year contract, purely because he shares the same agent.
Eriksson – heralded as the saviour of English football – has been exposed as yet another of football’s greedy foreigners – and the sooner he goes, the better.

Derby 2 Walsall 2

roger6 @ 12:02 am Sunday 06 October 2002

Football doesn’t get much sweeter when your team score a penalty with the last kick of the game, and 2,300 Saddlers fans were celebrating Saturday as we came back from 2-0 down with only 10 men to grab a point at debt-ridden Derby. Fantastic stadium, 20k a week players on view, but Derby’s future is in the hands of the banks – and Walsall more than matched them. And it’s holders Blackburn in the next round of the Worthington Cup. Message board reaction to Derby below…
Sheffield Saddler – Fantastic performance considering the absolute disgraceful decisions that went against us. The ref was a joke, its no wonder I have no voice left and was told off by a plod for swearing. It was a disgrace. The tackle on Roper, and no red or even yellow card for a goalkeeper who pulled Wrack down for the penalty, how can this be right if the laws of the game are followed? Team spirit is an all time high in my opinion. Leitao and Corica brilliant, Walker as usual fantastic, especially save when Derby could have made it 3-0! Hay and Bazeley getting better by the game. Oh what joy it is to be a Walsall fan sat near Doffer all game!
Popperpancake – Great performance. Thoroughly deserved at least the point we got. Corica should have had 2 more at least..i’m still not convinced about his finishing. The switch back to corica playing behind the front two seemed to work..O’Connor superb in the second half. Couldn’t believe it when zigor stepped up to take the penalty….reminded me of ricketts at tranmere couple of years ago (is it sensible to get the player the fans dislike the most to take vital penalties?…it must be, cos they both scored)

Forest 1 Walsall 2

roger6 @ 12:03 am Wednesday 02 October 2002

Superb success for the Saddlers tonight as Colin Lee’s soldiers march into the 3rd round of the Worthington Cup with an impressive 2-1 win at high-flying, much-admired Nottingham Forest.
Leitao had a hand in both goals, showing great composure to drive right-footed past Ward in the 21st minute. Jorge then turned provider, producing a slide-rule pass to release Junior who casually slipped the ball into the corner of the net.
Despite some pressure from the home side and a nervous last ten minutes after Johnson scored, the Saddlers held out for their third win on the bounce, and now travel to debt-ridden Derby at the weekend who crashed to Oldham tonight.
Money coming in now, let’s hope for positive developments on the Fitzroy contract situation tomorrow – against expectations he started for the Saddlers again tonight, adding to his repuation as Walsall’s victory talisman.

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