Encouraging signs just days into the new regime as Walsall unexpectedly put in one of their best displays this season to deservedly beat Leeds 1-0 in front of almost 9,000 at Bescot today.Troy Deeney’s third goal in three games was the difference between the sides, the goal coming in the 7th minute. The return from injury of Weston and Boertien, plus Taundry being pushed forward into midfield, seemed the key to the massive improvement in the Walsall performance.Lots of reaction coming in on the message board – be sure to add your view.
WFC_Rob has already won plaudits for posting this upbeat assessment – and a word to the authorities at Bescot under the impression UTS only publishes negative comments – there is a really good balance of opinion on here:
That was the complete opposite of the rubbish we played under Mullen. Today we were a team made up of players playing in their preferred positions, looking to play football the way it should be played. We were organised, committed to everything and played as a team. The 1-0 result might suggest to the rest of the football world that we were lucky to just sneak it. Whilst we did ride our luck once or twice, we were most definitely the better side. For the first 25 minutes, they barely had a glimmer of a chance, and there were times when we played their midfield out of the game.
The back five were absolutely solid throughout. The confidence Ince had due to the fact that he was playing behind a back four who had some idea how to defend was there for all to see, and surged through the rest of the team. Boertein’s return made a massive difference. No more panicked long ball from left back – playing the ball out on the floor helped us keep the pressure on them. His link up play with Zaaboub was impressive at times, particularly in the build up to the goal – that was as good a move as we’re likely to see this season.
I think I’d look to keep Weston and Gerrard together at the back because they complement eachother so well. Weston’s reading of the game is superb. Even Palmer had a good game. He lonked up well with both Mattis and Nicholls and generally looked to keep the ball on the floor for a change. I thought he struggled a fair bit towards the end of the game, when they targetted him by constantly giving Robinson the ball, but his first half performance made up for that. Zaaboub was again a threat. Again he was direct, looking to run at their defence whenever he could. He played just like he used to for Swindon against us and gave Leeds a real awkward time. The cross for the goal having played a one-two with Boertein was top drawer.
For me, Mattis was man of the match. He was here, there and everywhere across the midfield and definitely stifled Delph. I can’t help but think he’s been following the advice of O’Connor, as that performance was O’Connor-esque. Superb.
I thought Taundry and Nicholls were ‘in and out’ as far as their involvement was concerned. What they did offer was hard work and a confidence to make themselves available for the ball. That hadn’t been evident for the previous few weeks.
Deeney and Ibehre were just a handful. Both held the ball up really well and created a few half chances for themselves. The thing Ibehre really excels at is getting the ball to his feet and bringing the midfielders in to play. He’s so big and strong that no defence in League One can handle him when he’s on top of his game, as he was today. I thought Deeney looked like he’d run himself into the ground with about 20 minutes to go, but to be fair to him, he kept making himself available for the ball. The confidence he’ll have after grabbing the goal today will benefit us greatly.
And how refreshing was it to see not one, but two managers in our dugout really spurring th players on?! Both Hutchings & O’Connor were really involved, which seemed to give the players that extra belief. If we continue in that vein, we’ll be more than alright.