Archive for October, 2004

MK Dons 1 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 6:16 pm Saturday 30 October 2004

Walsall’s search for a first away win continued at the National Hockey Stadium this afternoon. Darren Wrack handed the Saddlers a 13th minute lead, when his cross curled straight in, evading the attentions of keeper David Martin under pressure from Jorge Leitao, in for the ill Matty Fryatt. Wrack had another shot cleared off the line before Malvin Kamara levelled things after 36 minutes. The pacy striker seized on hesitant defending by Julian Bennett and Zigor Aranalde, latching onto a long through ball to fire past on loan Joe Murphy.
Richard Johnson struck a post from 30 yards and was also denied by Murphy as the Dons looked for a winner. Walsall also had chances but Leitao’s effort was cleared off the line by Steve Palmer after the Portuguese had rounded Martin. Leitao also headed over and Michael Standing fired wide when clear.
Meanwhile, Walsall have been drawn away to either Slough or Salisbury in the first round of this season’s FA cup. Ties will be played on the weekend of 13th/14th November.

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Walsall 1 Bristol City 2

roger6 @ 6:17 pm Saturday 23 October 2004

Leroy Lita robbed Walsall of a deserved point with a late drive at Bescot today, condemning the Saddlers to a 1-2 home defeat.
Walsall began well and thought they had taken the lead inside ten minutes, when Gary Birch headed home Zigor Aranalde’s cross only for the linesman to flag for offside. City also had the ball in the net, when Lita slid home Scott Murray’s cross from close range but he too was adjudged to be offside.
Matty Fryatt at last opened the scoring after 49 minutes, converting from the spot after he had been brought down by Tony Butler. However, when Simon Osborn sliced a clearance, Lita raced clear of the Walsall defence; his shot was smothered by Joe Murphy, who then blocked Murray’s follow up only for Lita to fire home from close range.
A draw would have been a fair result but City snatched three points thanks to the usually reliable Murphy’s injury time howler. He allowed Lita’s long range drive to squirm into the net, ending Walsall’s three match unbeaten run.
“I can’t believe that we’ve lost the match,” said Paul Merson. “The lads are gutted because we’ve passed the ball around well and had enough opportunities to have won it. I’m just lost for words that they’ve been able to nick it in the last minute; we’ve probably played as well today as we did against Luton.”

Walsall 2 Luton 0

roger6 @ 10:17 pm Tuesday 19 October 2004

Walsall eased past table toppers Luton Town at Bescot tonight, securing a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Paul Merson and Matty Fryatt.
Merson, who brought in Gary Birch and Michael Standing for the injured Mark Kinsella and jaded Fryatt, opened the scoring after only seven minutes, slotting home Darren Wrack’s right wing cross.
Luton looked for an equaliser and Joe Murphy had to be at his best to turn over a drive from Howard before the striker hit the woodwork with a header.
Matty Fryatt sealed the points after 71 minutes, latching onto a Merson through ball. His initial shot was blocked but fortuitously rebounded off his leg and into the net.
Walsall: Murphy; Wright, Emblen, Bennett, Aranalde; Standing, Osborn, Merson, Wrack; Birch, Leitao (sub Fryatt 58). Subs not used: Paston, Roper, Taylor, Broad.

Wrexham 1 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 6:18 pm Saturday 16 October 2004

Walsall’s search for a first away win continued today after a 1-1 draw at Wrexham. Dennis Lawrence headed in Darren Ferguson’s 16th minute free kick to put the Welsh side ahead against Paul Merson’s unchanged Walsall.
Darren Wrack led the search for an equaliser, seeing his 20 yard drive turned around the post by Matt Baker and then when the corner was cleared, Wrack hammered in another shot which was turned over the bar.
The Saddlers continued to press after the break and Birch was brought on in place of a jaded Matty Fryatt. Leitao fired in an overhead kick, Osborn struck a thirty yarder against the bar and then Neil Emblen struck the woodwork – last week’s winner obviously whetting his goalscoring appetite. As it was, his central defensive partner – also on the scoresheet last week – popped up again with another vital header. There were only sixteen minutes to go when Julian Bennett rose to power home a header from the ever willing Mark Wright’s cross. Leitao fluffed two chances to win the match, after being set up by the impressive Birch although Joe Murphy was called upon to rescue the point late on after a Wrexham counter attack.

Frank Barlow

roger6 @ 6:18 pm Friday 15 October 2004

Paul Merson today appointed 58 year old Frank Barlow as Walsall’s news first team coach, replacing Iffy Onoura who was sacked earlier this month. Barlow managed Chesterfield and Scunthorpe in the eighties and has since coached at Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol City, whom he left at the end of last season.
“Frank is the type of appointment that we have been looking for,” said player-manager, Paul Merson. “He will bring a vast amount of experience and know-how to the club. He is a first-class coach and over the years has built up a good reputation within the game. I feel that he is going to make a big contribution in the months ahead and I am delighted to have him on board.”

Walsall 2 Colchester 1

roger6 @ 6:19 pm Saturday 09 October 2004

Defenders Julian Bennett and Neil Emblen both found the net as Walsall came from behind to earn a 2-1 win over Colchester United at Bescot.
Walsall dominated the match for long spells and manager Merson twice struck the cross bar from distance. Jorge Leitao somehow missed an empty net following a defensive mix up and Matty Fryatt was denied at point blank range by keeper Dean Gerken.
Totally against the run of play, Colchester opened the scoring after 71 minutes. Richard Garcia latched onto a Stephen Hunt cross to fire past debutant Joe Murphy, who later left the field injured.
Two minutes later, Julian Bennett powered a header from a Paul Merson corner into the net to make the score 1-1. Then with six minutes to go, Bennett flicked on another Merson set piece and Emblen applied the finishing touch to move Walsall out of the relegation zone.

Loan keeper : Osborn

roger6 @ 6:20 pm Thursday 07 October 2004

Walsall today completed the loan signing of goalkeeper Joe Murphy. The 23 year old Republic of Ireland international joins on a one month loan from West Brom, although the deal could be extended for a further two months. Murphy joined the Baggies from Tranmere and saved a Michael Owen penalty on his debut. He will be looking to establish himself as Paul Merson’s number one, with Mark Paston not fully fit.
Meanwhile, player coach Simon Osborn, 32, has relinquished his coaching role to concentrate on his playing career. The decision comes just a day after first team coach Iffy Onoura’s contract was terminated, leaving just player manager Merson and assistant manager Jim Walker in charge.
Finally, Matty Fryatt earned his second England under19 cap against the Czech Republic last night. He came on after 62 minutes and helped to set up England’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

Onoura leaves

roger6 @ 6:21 pm Wednesday 06 October 2004

Walsall today terminated the contract of first team coach Iffy Onoura. Manager Paul Merson explained “I feel, however, that at this time, when results have been going against us, that we are in need of more experience.” The 37 year old forward, who was also registered as a player, only joined the club in the summer.

Huddersfield 3 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 6:22 pm Saturday 02 October 2004

Paul Merson’s sorry Saddlers slumped to a 1-3 defeat away at Huddersfield today. Pawel Abbott and Junior Mendes dealt Walsall a double blow, netting two goals in two minutes after half an hour. Abbott made it 3-0 after 68 minutes, beating the away side’s offside trap before rounding Mark Paston. Huddersfield centre-back Nathan Clarke handed Walsall a 77th minute lifeline with a headed own goal but Julian Bennett failed to set up a grand stand finish, when he then headed wide. Matty Fryatt and Mark Wright were also denied as Walsall mounted a late but unsuccessful rally.
Meanwhile, Walsall have been drawn away to League Two side Cheltenham Town in the second round of the LDV Vans Trophy. Ties will be played week commencing November 1st.

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