Another disappointing performance, where the team looked incapable of playing for ninety minutes and the Manager looked incapable of changing things when they were going wrong, saw the Saddlers dumped out of the FA Cup, when a good run in the competition would have been so important for a club in financial difficulties. All the reports suggest we were desperately lucky to go in at half time only 0 – 1 down, but they seemed to have learned more from the League game than we did and there was no second half recovery this week. Stu provedes the report:-
How disappointing was that… It took me 2 hours to get there for a 21 mile drive,which meant I missed out on a pre-match pint. Off to a bad start. Unfortunately it didn’t get better for quite a while.
The first 45 minutes was atrocious at best and a better team would have been out of sight. We were scary from defensive corners, the giant centre half was completely unmarked and had a 6 yard run at his header for the goal. He could have had a hat-trick from corners, with two bad misses in the 2nd half. They had another corner cleared off the line in the 2nd half. I think we had one shot from distance in the first half and offered absolutely nothing. We were outplayed and to be honest, utter garbage.
The first 20 minutes of the 2nd half was mediocre. They had their two corners that the giant put wide and straight at Ince.
We eventually realised we were playing a competitive match after about 65 minutes and for the last 25, we were the better side, we played with a real high tempo and urgency, something that was missing for the first 65 minutes. However, for all of that, there was only one gilt edged chance and that fell to Parkin, who bottled it. Free at the back post, a slight angle, he had the far post gaping and instead of drilling it there, he put it at the ideal height for the keeper at his near post and he saved comfortably. Deeney had a decent chance that was blocked out wide, otherwise that was it.
Every time we got into a decent position, we either wanted one touch too many or delivered a dudd ball.
Ince – His failure to command the box on corners was worrying. He didn’t have a bad game, but he could have removed a lot of danger by coming for corners as he used to. He spent them rooted to his line.
Weston – Distribution was awful, didn’t offer much on the overlap.
Sansara – Alright game, kept Bostock quiet so they switched him wings. Didn’t offer much going forward though.
Hughes – As captain and leader, he should be taking charge and organising. He doesn’t. Nice on the ball, that is it.
Smith – Best of the defenders, but I think it was his man that scored the goal and had the beating of him on each corner.
Richards – Nothing but a Matt Lucas lookalike. Don’t see what he offers. Should have been replaced by Nicholls and put Jones on the left.
Jones – Anonymous first half, 2nd half better but always wanted one touch too many or 3 seconds too long. Got into some really good opportunities but then messed them up.
Mattis – Booked and deservedly so, he was late with 2/3 tackles early on and the booking calmed him down. Felt it was harsh to drop O’Keefe and Mattis didn’t show much more.
Bradley – Best player for me. Energy, tempo, drive and tried to make things happen, but was a one man central midfield.
Deeney – Huff and puff, never really felt he was going to create something or score.
Byfield – Nice touches but drifted. Evidently frustrated with his team-mates decisions at times and not surprised he was subbed.
Parkin – Won a couple of headers, but missed our only gilt edged chance, sort of chance I’d have put money on Byfield putting away.
You’d never have thought we knew there was a 3rd round spot at stake here. Very disappointing.
I’d rather have lost 3-0 and had a go, than 1-0 and gone out with a wimper. We only really looked dangerous when getting around the back, but that isn’t possible on the left as Matt Lucas doesn’t have pace or ability to beat a man. Was crying out for Nicholls on the right flank and Jones on the left and getting wide quickly. Unfortunately management didn’t see that or didn’t agree with that and we went out with a wimper.