Two sendings off, two penalties, a card-happy ref, and more gloom for Saddlers fans. What next for Colin Lee?
Archive for March, 2003
A dramatic afternoon at Bescot ended with a 3-2 win over Burnley, to lift spirits and continue the rollercoaster season that is the 2002-3 campaign. Not long after Pedro Matias has seen Walsall into a 3-0 lead and apparent comfort, Jimmy Walker was sent off for bringing down Gareth Taylor. Gavin Ward couldn’t save the resulting penalty, and nerves jangled in injury time when first Glenn Little got the score to 3-2, then somebody missed a free header. But Walsall took their chances today, and move ten points clear of relegation, probably needing just two more wins from nine games to secure first division football for another season.
Walsall slumped to their ninth home defeat of the season to fuel the fans frustration at the team’s incredible inconsistency, losing to Millwall in front of less than 7,000 at Bescot. Millwall were by far the better team, against a Walsall side showing none of the fight or determination witnessed away at Rotherham and Bradford. Saddlers fans give their view:
Paul G – Fabulous attacking football. We looked a threat every time we came forward and could have had more. Shame that was only the last 7 minutes. Where do these performances come from? Sheff Utd and Stoke revisited. Every single player performed well below their optimum and generally looked uninterested in the game. No passion and poor tactics. No one in the stands or on the radio seemed to know if we were playing 4-3-3- or 4-5-1. No one on the pitch seemed to know either. Shuker looked lost and had too many high balls played up to him. Robinson was awful. Barras marked fresh air for much of the game. Bazeley had probably his worst game in a Walsall shirt. Was Pedro really MOTM? For the second time in 2 weeks we let an ordinary side low on confidence run rings around us.
Cannock – Shocking performance today. We were well and truly beaten by an excellent Millwall side. We should have been 3-0 down at half time and it was only Walker and Wrack’s blump buttocks that kept us on level terms. Millwall attacked with width, pace and Ifill and Harris took us to the cleaners. They were a joy to watch. What was our response? To continue with hopeless “passing” of the ball in a totally clueless manner. The attributes that Millwall showed in abundance were sadly lacking from our lot today. Millwall fully deserved the 3 points.
Walsall followed up their great win at Bradford with a battling performance at Rotherham, grinding out a 0-0 draw. Samways had another good game in midfield, Jimmy and the defence looked very solid against a long ball team, although the evening was marred with both Leitao and O’Connor going off with injuries. Reaction from the travelling Saddlers barmy army to come later.
After the desperate performance at Stoke in midweek, Walsall went to Bradford and claimed their first away win since September with a much improved showing inspired by two debutants. Up front Chris Shuker grew in confidence as the match went on, and was rewarded by setting up Pedro Matias for the winning goal – Matias justifying the demands for his recall by Saddlers fans over the last few weeks. And Vinny Samways beefed up the midfield in a quietly effective first appearance since his move from sunny Spain. As the relegation fears ease, Saddlers fans give their post match reactions:
Sheffield Saddler – Special mentions to Roper – this guy is unbelievable, anyone who can keep Ward quiet for 90 minutes deserves a medal, got to be player of the season in my books. Samways – what a super debut, considering he couldn’t have been match fit, what can you say. And my biggest mention of all to Shuker, the smallest football player I have ever seen but god cant he run! This bloke is premiership class, no doubt about it. His touch, his dribbling and his skill and vision are quality.
Cannock – Truly fantastic second half performance. Shuker was excellent. He appeared on the left wing, right wing, up front, in fact everywhere. He was a real pressure relief valve. Every time he had the ball he ran at the Bradford defence, he created chances, he was outstanding. The boys really battled well today and didn’t drop their heads after the equaliser. Samways distributed the ball well, Robinson tackled and battled and MOM Roper was phenomenal.
PJD – Interesting tactics to play four at the back, three in the middle of mid field, Pedro wide left, Shuker right sided / up front with Jorge. You thought it would lead to us being light defensively on our right and that is where the main threat came in the first half, but second half Bradford focused on going down our left, where we were stronger. Odd tactics from their manager and how he can complain about the disallowed goal I don’t know, Ward was all elbows and pushes right from the start.