Archive for December, 2002

Ipswich 3 Walsall 2

roger6 @ 11:56 pm Monday 30 December 2002

A narrow defeat it may look, but Walsall’s fifth successive away defeat has raised a few concerns amidst the Bescot faithful, as the gap between us and relegation gets worryingly narrower, just as the clubs at the bottom start winning. Thoughts on the Ipswich game from message board regulars:
Geoff Whiting – More points gifted away today, Ward made a total balls-up of a soft cross in injury time first half. Just as I was thinking “will we manage to avoid giving away the usual goal in the last seconds of the half ?” consistent as always we go and do exactly that! Then from a corner the defence goes totally a.w.o.l. (again) as their guy gets a free header for the second. What the hell is happening, we’ve scored two goals away from home again, and again we’ve lost !
Pico – have to say I was disappointed with the way we went about the game. Playing so defensively backfired on us big time as we never looked like scoring in the first half. With just Jorge up front, and Corica ofering very little again, we invited Ipswich on to us, which is not a clever thing to do as in my opinion they are one of the best teams in the league, and will be up there come the end of the season.
GeordieSaddler – How I miss the joy of 1-4 at Barnsley, the 0-3 at Man City, that glorious surrender at home to Watford this time last season. Ahh those were the days. At least now we compete against pretty much everyone in the division. Yes I know this hasn’t always translated into points, and another couple of bad defeats will see the prayer mats getting dusted off, but for God’s sake man pull yourself together.


Walsall 0 Sheff Utd 1

roger6 @ 11:56 pm Friday 27 December 2002

As expected more than 10,000 turned up to the Bescot mud field on Boxing Day, but the Blades went away with the points, in a poor game with one solitary goal. One of the message board regulars Cannock offers his thoughts:
Today’s performance wasn’t the worst of the season but from my point of view it was the most worrying. Football is a simple game. When you have the ball you need to try and pass to a man in the same coloured shirt and hope to put the ball in the net. When you have pssesion the opposition can’t hurt you. Unfortunately, the Bescot coaching staff do not have the same opinion. The Bescot way of playing is to get control of the ball and hoof it into space down the channels in the hope that one of our forwards will gain control. Inevitably we lose possesion and put pressure onto ourselves. People may say the pitch isn’t conducive to this. I say crap. Sheff Utd managed to pass to each other relatively easily as have other sides who have come to Bescot.
The second requirement of a football team is to get the ball back when not in possesion. This requires the midfield players to chase and pressurise the opponents until possesion is conceded. Again, the Bescot coaching staff disagree and believe that the midfield players should retreat at a hasty rate of knots to the edge of our own penalty area and give the opposition as much room and freedom required in order to play their football. Jolly decent of them.
When we gain a throw in, this should be to our advantage with the opposition having booted the ball out of play. Our response is for all our players to have their backs to the ball so the thrower has to launch the ball as far as he can to the opposition defenders.
We can have as many skillful players as we want but until these players learn that the basics of football are more important than nifty little flick ons we will continually struggle.

Norwich 2 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 11:57 pm Saturday 21 December 2002

Massive disappointment for Saddlers fans today as, with grim echoes of the display at leaders Portsmouth, Walsall dominated the first half at play-off placed Norwich, failed to take chances, and eventually lost the game 2-1. Loan signing Gareth Ainsworth made an immediate impact coming on as a second-half substitute – getting sent off for a late tackle in his first contribution to the game. Steve Corica had given Walsall the lead early into the second 45, but Norwich scored from two set pieces – which won’t please boss Colin Lee – the first after a corner, the second a superb free-kick, mirroring Junior’s effort from last week.

Walsall 2 Wimbledon 0

roger6 @ 11:57 pm Sunday 15 December 2002

Are we witnessing the return of fortress Bescot? Four straight home wins now following the latest success on Saturday, a well-deserved 2-0 win over in-form Wimbledon. Dons boss Murdoch mentioned the heavy pitch, but Darren Wrack’s cool finish early was wrapped up by Junior’s exquisite free kick to seal the game on the hour. Despite the presence of only sixty away fans, many more Walsall supporters were at Bescot than last week, and the club are hopeful of breaking the 10,000 crowd barrier for the Boxing Day visit of Sheffield United. Those who were there yesterday gave their views on the message board:
RushallSaddler – I thought it was a very entertaining game today, considering the state of the pitch, definitely doesn’t suit Corica’s game but still needs to be in the team as he is always likely to supply a killer ball or produce some trickery. Wimbledon are very good going forward, the best attacking side I have seen at Bescot this season, but weak defensively as reflected by their scorelines.
ShifnalSaddler – Walker, MOTM for me, kept us in it, some good saves and one fantastic one that earned a sustained ovation. The ref helped by not giving that early penalty for Roper handball. I’ve seen them given, other way round we’d have been screaming for it anyway.
Sharky61 – Happy with the three points even if it wasn’t a classic performance, we’ve played better and still come away with nothing.

Walsall 3 Grimsby 1

roger6 @ 11:57 pm Monday 09 December 2002

Walsall underlined a growing difference in quality between themselves and the relegation candidates with a 3-1 win over Grimsby on Saturday. Brazilian striker Junior grabbed his 8th of the season, and set up the other two goals, with Darren Wrack scoring against his former club to wrap the victory up 3 minutes from time. A full Purple stand could not disguise a disappointing crowd of under 6,000 – not helped obviously by Grimsby bringing next-to-nobody. Your match reactions:
Dave Gittens – It was an inspired substitution by Colin Lee in bringing Aranalde and Ainsworth on when he did, we immediately looked a different team reverting to a 4-4-2. I was very impressed by Ainsworth, he was fast and skilful, the defence were terrified of him. I had been informed by a friend (a Vale fan) that he was good, and having seen him I must agree.
Paul G – Looking at other pitches on TV this week ours seems to be a real shocker. Even Harrogate Railway produced a better surface. It’s one thing to accept Villa’s money but if we want to be as professional all round as Colin Lee hopes we should be protecting the pitch. Our reserves should be playing elsewhere as should Villa. It totally negates the presence of Corica in the team.

1933 Giantkillers

roger6 @ 11:33 am Friday 06 December 2002

One of the most famous days in Walsall’s history occurred in 1933 when the mighty Saddlers beat Arsenal. Steve Blake tells the story of the great day:
Walsall v Arsenal
Fellows Park 14th January 1933

1933 giantkillers

Back row, left to right: C.Ball, W.Coward, J.Bennett, S.Bird, H.Salt.

Middle row: H.Wait(trainer), J.Reed, G.Leslie, G.Alsop, W.Sheppard, J.Cunningham, F.Lee

Front row: Mr.W.Slade(manager), Messrs. A.J.Eyre, H.L.Fellows(chairman), H.Lake and W.Roper(directors)

One of the biggest upsets in the history of the FA Cup, was when 3rd Division Walsall met Arsenal at home. Arsenal were revered as a legendary side and were classed as the greatest in the land. Arsenal looked upon the tie as a mere formality. Walsall were languishing in the lower reaches of the Third Division (South)and although 3 of the Arsenal side were absent through injury (Hapgood, Lambert and Hulme) they thought it was going to an easy victory. How Wrong could they be!

Cliff Bastin, Arsenal’s winger was quoted as saying “the Third Division footballer may not be a soccer artist, but when it comes to the heavy tackle, he ranks with the best.” He also added “Arsenal disliked playing Third Division sides for they would fling themselves into the game with reckless abandon, and the gashed bruised legs of the Arsenal players would bear grim testimony to their misguided enthusiasm”.

The teams were:

Walsall (Blue and White)- 1 Cunningham, 2 Bennett, 3 Bird, 4 Reed, 5 Leslie, 6 Salt, 7 Coward, 8 Ball, 9 Alsop, 10 Sheppard, 11 Lee.

Arsenal (White Shirts)- 1 Moss, 2 Male, 3 Black, 4 Hill, 5 Roberts, 6 John, 7 Warnes, 8 Jack, 9 Lambert, 10 James, 11 Bastin.

In the first ten minutes, Arsenal were awarded many free kicks, and Walsall held the “Gunners” to a goalless draw at half-time. In the second half, Walsall’s centre forward,Gilbert Alsop headed in the first goal from a corner. They say the cheering was heard two miles away! Arsenal missed many chances untill Tommy Black lost his cool and the resulting foul produced a penalty, and Sheppard scored to put the result beyond doubt. Herbert Chapman, the Arsenal manager, was in a state of shock and promptly banned Black from Highbury, and then a few weeks later transferred him to Plymouth.

The Daily Mirror Monday, January 16 1933

“Saturday may of been a dream to the small teams in the Cup-ties, but it was something of a nightmare for the “big noises”. Walsall led the way and gave the Arsenal the shock of their lives in defeating them by two goals to none.The Londoners were completely unsettled and their craft failed against the bustle and energy of the Black Country men. Jack and James tried desperatly hard to set the “machine” going, but always the Arsenal found themselves robbed of the ball. Alsop, Walsall’s leading goalscorer, drove the first nail into Arsenal’s coffin and Sheppard, with a penalty, completed the job. The crowd were almost mad with excitement and the players were carried shoulder high off the field. Thus a struggling Third Division team created a sensation of the century.”

  • RSS Message board

  • News items

  • Latest

  • UpTheSaddlers Tags