Archive for October, 2010

Huddersfield 1-0 Walsall: Unlucky again?

Exile @ 10:25 pm Saturday 30 October 2010

Walsall went down 1-0 away against ten-man Huddersfield today as 216 Saddlers fans watched them take nothing away from yet another game.

Unlucky for Walsall this week, as Pilkington managed a wonder-strike that dribbled past returning legend Jimmy Walker ten minutes after Alan Lee was red-carded for elbowing Mannie Smith.

As you’d expect, playing most of the game against a 10 man team, Walsall won the possession stats, as well as shots on and off target and corners. Walsall also won yellow cards and fouls, but unluckily the goal tally was against them.

No selected match report this week as there’s two conflicting stories – read them both on the match thread on the messageboard, here

This week’s poll has deliberately got only two options. Didn’t see the point in muddying the waters.


Losing to 10 man Huddersfield was....
  • inexcusable, Chris. (86%, 229 Votes)
  • unlucky, Chris. (14%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 265

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If luck were a virus, Hutchings must have natural antibodies, as we’ve lost count of the number of times this season that the team has been unlucky. After today’s match Chris managed to come out with “we need to find that…good fortune. You make your own luck in this game”. No reference this week to sitting down and watching the DVD though, so perhaps things are looking up.

Tuesday brings the visit of Peterborough to Walsall. Should be interesting in many ways – will the balti pies last till half time? Is more than one kiosk necessary in the lower F2G? One barman be enough for the rush in the Middle F2G? Will more than one table be sold in the Bonser Suite? Will Walsall lose to another individual error in yet another unlucky even-stevens game?

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Huddersfield Town vs Walsall Preview

Neil @ 1:15 pm Friday 29 October 2010

I don’t think anyone actually got the answer right to the perennial question on the message board of “when’s Jimmy coming back”. Well, the answer, surprisingly, turned out to be the 29th October 2010!

It can only be seen as a humiliating admission by Chris Hutchings that he got the goalkeeping position completely wrong in the Summer, to have to bring in the former Walsall hero, and, considering Brain’s indecisions and lack of command of his area, it can only make you wonder what Bevan is like. However, for better or worse, Jimmy Walker is back on the books and waiting for clearance to see if he can go straight into the squad for the trip to Huddersfield tomorrow. Hutchings’ quote on the matter was “”He has the experience that we need at this time. He’s a strong character and an organiser, the type of person who will get people going.” I hate to tell you Chris, but I knew we would need that experience and organisational ability at the start of the season – and we still do need it in midfield. Let’s hope for another signing there.

As for the rest of the team, we will be without Darren Byfield and Andrew Davies for the daunting trip. Byfield (knee) had looked set for a return from his lengthy absence at any time now but he has suffered a minor setback in training which will rule him out at the Galpharm, although he remains hopeful of being ready for Tuesday’s visit of Peterborough.

Davies was ruled out for around three weeks on Thursday, having suffered a slight tear in his thigh muscle, meaning Clayton McDonald is likely to come into the heart of defence.

What other changes Hutchings will make is difficult to judge, but he may consider replacing Lescott, poor last week, with Westlake at right back.

Huddersfield will be without striker Lee Novak for the game, but midfielder Damien Johnson is back in contention.

Novak has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury sustained in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Plymouth. Joe Garner stepped off the bench at Home Park and could be a straight replacement, but Jordan Rhodes provides manager Lee Clark with an alternative option. Johnson is expected to return to the starting line-up after being ineligible to play against parent club Plymouth last Saturday.

Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) and Lee Peltier (calf) came through unscathed last week after nursing respective injuries, but winger Gary Roberts (broken arm) and defenders Gary Naysmith (foot) and Tom Clarke (knee) remain sidelined.

Predictions?

Good side, Huddersfield, but they can be inconsistent. Their last games have included losing 1 – 2 at Plymouth, beating Southampton 2 – 0 at home and Colchester 3 – 0 away, then losing 0 – 1 at home to Bristol Rovers and 0 – 3 at Rochdale. This is a team that can be beaten, but it will take a monumental improvement on the last performance for the Saddlers to come away from the Galpharm with anything.

Reaction to Saddlers 1 Tranmere 4

roger6 @ 10:45 am Monday 25 October 2010

Walsall's under pressure manager Chris Hutchings Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

The depths have been hit after Saturday’s demolition by Tranmere, and the message board has been alive with fans seeking answers. At the time of writing boss Chris Hutchings is hanging on to his job – an unusual show of patience from chairman Jeff Bonser who on past evidence you would have expected to fire the bullet by now.

Chester Saddler gave his reaction:

Trying to be positive, Macken and Reid huffed and puffed in the first half but with little penetration, Devaney looked like he could be dangerous (although I feared he might have gone for the challenge which led to a yellw card), and Davies got amongst them.

As for the rest, Richards was busy as usual but gave away posession too often, Brain made a couple of decent saves but continues to be on a different wavelength to his defence. Not sure how Smith was MOM :? Jones was a shadow of the player of last season.

Lescott is a liability at fullback, continually being caught out of position. Why can’t Hutchings see this? The signs were there in the first couple of minutes when a cross from his side flew across the six yard box with Brain and defenders looking at each other. No surprise that Tranmere exploited this weakness throughout the match, culminating in the penalty decision.

Hutchings substitutions were baffling and clearly unpopular. The team has no confidence, is riddled with individual mistakes and completely disorganised, particularly when defending. Despite the above, there is enough there to get out of this mess with someone new in charge. Surely JW Bonser will act now. We made a very poor team look good today – completely unnacceptable.

On the way out, there were a few hardy souls chanting outside the Bonser suite, but most were just trundling off home, heads shaking in disbelief. One last thing. Looking around the ground I cannot see how there were above 3300 there today. My guess was somewhere near the 2800 mark.

Walsall vs Tranmere Rovers Preview – Wolves Drop Us In It.

Neil @ 11:01 am Friday 22 October 2010

Problems for the beleaguered Chris Hutchings this week, as Walsall have yet another must win game against a team struggling at the wrong end of the table. This time, though, it’s partly of his own making, as one of his first choice midfielders David Davis, is a loanee who has been recalled by his club.

I suppose the first thing to do is congratulate Davis for his call up to the Wolves first team squad for the trip to Stamford Bridge at the weekend, although I have to say, I haven’t seen enough from the youngster to suggest he’s ready for that baptism of fire yet. I think Mick McCarthy might have been better leaving him with us a little longer. They do have a midfield crisis however and the word is they may be willing to let him return when that clears up. It does leave Hutchings with problems, however, as Taundry has only just returned to training and may not be risked. Marshall would then seem to be the only other option in the middle of the park.

As for the rest of the team, Davies and Lescott have recovered from knocks they picked up last Satruday, but Byfield should still be missing as his injury is proving very slow to clear up. I don’t see any major surprises and a starting XI of:

Brain, Lescott, Smith, Davies, McGivern, Devaney, Taundry or Marshall, Richards, Jones or Gray, Reid, Macken.

Personally, I’d play Jones ahead of Gray, but we’ll have to see what the Manager decides.

As for rock bottom Tranmere, Les Parry hopes to have strikers Enoch Showunmi (what a fantastic name that is) and Ian Thomas-Moore available after the pair rejoined training on Thursday.

Showunmi picked up a shoulder injury ahead of the Brentford game and Thomas-Moore also missed the fixture at Prenton Park.
Defender Joss Labadie is a big doubt with a knee injury while a back injury picked up in training could rule midfielder Paul McLaren out. However, veteran and much travelled defender Marlon Broomes, and forwards Adam McGurk and Sam Morrow all came through 90 minutes for the reserves on Wednesday unscathed.

I’m just hoping that the compliment Showunmi by playing the equally wonderfully named Max Power. Simpsons fans will doubtless be hoping for an appearance by Chesty La Rue, Busty St. Claire or Hootie McBoob.

Predictions?

Tranmere go into this game rock bottom of the table, with an away record of won just 1, drawn 2 and lost 3. Mind you, that’s identical to ours, although they have conceded considerably more goals! They arrived in that position after losing 0 – 3 at home last week to struggling Brentford, who hadn’t won away this season before that game. Quite frankly, anything less than a win would be completely uacceptable.

Dagenham & Redbrige 1-1 Walsall: limbo land

Exile @ 5:00 am Sunday 17 October 2010

A point on the road against fellow promotion hopefuls the Daggers has given us 4 points from the last two starts as the Marty & Hutch show finally gets underway for 2010-2011. Let us know in this week’s poll how convinced you are that this is correct.


A point off the Daggers is...
  • Two less than I hoped for (73%, 232 Votes)
  • Useful (27%, 87 Votes)

Total Voters: 319

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UTSer MILO5 was this week’s pick for a match report cut and paste.

Was actually an enjoyable game today .

I thought that they would out battle and out muscle us having heard a bit about them but it was actually about 50 50 on that score.

A draw was a just result in the end , and to be fair both teams were looking for the win towards the end.

Very little football on display ; some occasional glimpses from us and you cant help feel that we had more ability if we could have got more passing going .

No stand out performances and no total shockers , but special mention for :

Andrew Davies – what fans love to see- passion. Simply refused to come off the pitch despite the substitution getting right to the stage where Clayton had nearly picked up his marker and the announcer had made it formal. Made the most of his extra few minutes on the pitch by blocking a near certain goal bound effort

Brain – yes Brain . Still seems to emit nerves around him and didnt augur well that Kearns was conducting a full on coaching session before the game BUT save of the match in last 5 mins , and great to see his reaction to it.

Devaney – our main threat and a cool finish

Fans – good lively turn out .

Nice move by us in last couple of mins leading to Reid ( I think, was at other end ?) hitting the post after what looked like a mis hit, leading to an agonising second or two of is it in or not? But they hit the bar and had a couple of extremely close misses – one header grazed the post and Davies’ block ..

Second half better than the first . Frustrating in that I am sure we had twice as much talent on the pitch and didnt win . Good to see Jonah back , hopefully will start next week to give Gray a kick up the Harris.

Go agree, or have a go back if you don’t think he’s been fair. Here’s a link to this topic on the messageboard.

With next week’s must-win game against Tranmere concluding our pre-playoff play-offs against those teams that will be at the right end of the table come April, we have a relatively relaxed period to look forward to – playing those teams that by sheer fluke (and a dose of good luck from the fixtures computer) occupy one of the places that are rightfully ours – somwhere in the top ten. After a game against the mighty Walsall perhaps they’ll be looking over their shoulders as we come charging back.

Up the Saddlers!

Dagenham and Redbridge vs Walsall Preview

Neil @ 11:21 am Friday 15 October 2010

An historical moment tomorrow, which will see the Saddlers first ever League game at Dagenham and Redbridge and an opportunity, of course, for a new ground for many of those making the trip to the deepest darkest regions of Essex, God help them.

Last week’s welcome, if somewhat laboured, win should have helped the confidence of the Walsall players (although it was noticeable how fast that confidence drained away after Exeter scored last week) and the impact of the two new loan signings and the easing of out injury worries should give everyone at the club a much needed boost.

We will be hoping to have skipper Darren Byfield available. He has, of course, been missing for almost a month having injured his knee when he landed awkwardly in the 2-1 home defeat to Swindon. He did receive a cortisone injection to the affected area earlier in the week and hopes to train fully today with a view to making the trip south.
Steve Jones is fit and in contention having made a late three-minute cameo on his long-awaited return from an ankle injury last Saturday which just leaves Richard Taundry working on his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury.

Quite where that leaves Hutchings’ team selection is another matter. He does seem to have a love affair with Gray, but there must be a case for including both Jones and Devaney, either of whom can play on the left flank. I also wouldn’t risk Byfield, but continue with the Macken/Reid combination up front, but the Manager certainly seems to be a law to himself and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Devaney in central midfield! My XI, for what it’s worth, would be:

Brain, Lescott or Westlake, Smith, Davies, McGivern, Devaney, Davis, Richards, Jones, Macken, Reid.

Personally, I’d also consider a 4 3 1 2, with Jones playing “in the hole”.

Dagenham will have on-loan midfielder Nathaniel Pinney available for the game. Pinney, 19, joined the Daggers on loan from Crystal Palace on Thursday and he will go straight into the squad to face the Saddlers.

John Still has no fresh selection concerns for the game in which Dagenham will be hoping to extend their unbeaten home run to three games.

Defenders Will Antwi and Abu Ogogo are still sidelined with hamstring injuries.

Predictions?

Dagenham go into this one just one place below us, in the last relegation slot, on goal difference. They have just two wins at home and none away, so this looks like a winnable game. A word of warning, however. In the four games before their reverse last week (a 0 – 2 defeat at the Franchise), they had beaten Swindon at home, drawn with Exeter at home (and they looked a good footballing side last week) and drew at promotion chasing Colchester and Charlton. They are far from being mugs.

Promotion Gap Shrinks!

Exile @ 9:49 pm Wednesday 13 October 2010

from our correspondent Surreal Saddler:

In an amazing twist in our race for promotion Walsall had the added fillip of seeing three of the top four sides drop points at the weekend. The gap to 2nd place has now shrunk from 11 points to single digits! Even more exciting is Walsall’s place on the cusp of the rapidly-forming mid-table group chasing down leaders Brighton, who are sure to stumble at some point.

A short period of speed wobbles after our successful start to the season saw Walsall fall away a little, dropping as low as 24th in the League at one point, but everything’s now coming up roses at the Banks’s stadium following the weekend’s convincing, comprehensive, categorical, comfortable and clinical win against Exeter.

The super soaraway Saddlers will now have their sights set on the upcoming matches against fellow promotion hopefuls Dagenham & Redbridge and Tranmere, while the short-term loan future of star player David Davis has been assured for a further month which will certainly help our cause.

Three point gap opens, Davis loan extended

Exile @ 8:58 pm Tuesday 12 October 2010

Swindon’s victory over Brizzle Rovers means there’s now a three point gap between Walsall, in 20th spot and Plymouth above us.

We’re now in the rapidly-forming relegation ‘breakaway’ group, only 20th on goal difference. One hopes that Saturday’s win, our loan players and Hutchings himself can instil some confidence in the team for the hard fight ahead. We may be down here for some time.

Ahead of our 10 points are Plymouth (13), Notts County (13) then Yeovil (14). The rest of the mid-table are on 15-16 points so it’s still tight, if we can keep in touch.

On a brighter note, there’s news of a loan extension for David Davis, who’ll now be at the club till mid-November, unless he’s recalled by the Dingles.

Ten Years After – Class of 2000.

Exile @ 1:37 am Monday 11 October 2010

What happened to the class of 2000? That was the season we beat Reading at Cardiff, laughed at Stoke, finished 4th and generally had a whale of a time under Ray Graydon. At this stage ten years ago we’d only lost two games.

Less about us! What about the rest of the division? Where are they right now?

In the Premier league you’ll find high-fliers Stoke (7th) and Wigan (14th).

Up above us in the Championship there’s a few of our old playmates with Swansea (5th), Reading (7th), Millwall (12th) and Bristol City at the bottom.

Still with us in League One are Peterborough (3), Bournemouth (4), Oldham (7), Colchester (11), Bristol Rovers (14), Notts County (17) and Swindon (19), while we’re 20th and Brentford are rooted in 24th.

Down below there’s another horde – Port Vale (1), Rotherham (3), Bury (4) and Wycombe (6) are vying for a spot upstairs next season, chased by Oxford (11) and Northampton (22).

Out of the Football League are the conference mob – Luton (5), Wrexham (11) and Cambridge (22).

So in 10 years, 6 clubs are one or two divisions above us, 9 of us are still (or back!) in League One, while 6 clubs are playing at a level below and 3 are out of the League altogether.

There’s no editorial comment on these stats – they’re just there to discuss. Take a vote on the poll below, then discuss it on the messageboard on this thread here


How does this story make you feel about Walsall?
  • The same (49%, 100 Votes)
  • Worse (28%, 57 Votes)
  • Better (23%, 47 Votes)

Total Voters: 204

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Walsall 2-1 Exeter: Off the bottom

Exile @ 4:03 am Sunday 10 October 2010

Walsall’s victory over Exeter has lifted the club out of the dreaded relegation zone, albeit on goal difference only, gained us a much-need three points and perhaps added a bit of confidence to a squad seemingly bereft of it.

Of course, Saturday’s team was such that the Man Of The Match had only a shade over a 50% chance of coming from the squad so lovingly crafted by our manager, Chris Hutchings. As things turned out, Herivelto didn’t win, although the recipient of the award isn’t a Walsall player but one of our loanees, brought in to shore up a faltering team.


Beating Exeter was:
  • A much-needed three points (54%, 130 Votes)
  • All of the above (26%, 62 Votes)
  • A lucky win (12%, 28 Votes)
  • Hollow (8%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 239

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UTS regular cully was at the match, apparently, and through his wonderfully rose-tinted spectacles we get the following match report:

That was probably the most embarrassing win I have seen in the last 20 years. The only positives were the 3 points, Matt Richards usual lone performance and a promising performance from Martin Deveaney. How we managed to win against their 10 men is a mystery and ‘cockney chancer’ Hutchings will, based on yet another clueless performance, once again be able to trot out his usual cliched nonsense beside himself with his usual knowing smugness.

The defence is disorganised, there is no clear plan when we have the ball, which is usually by default. Our first goal was as a result of Mackens persistance chasing lost causes and Exeters defence over confidence against our pointless attacks. I cannot see any tactical plan whether we have the ball or are trying to win it; aimless hoofs from Lescott, Smith and McGivern.

There is no one to pass too apart from Richards because nobody has any idea what to do with it when they get it. Occassionally we managed to put a few passes together which usually came to nothing because they end up at the feet of Reid who appears to think he has to beat at least four men before he even looks up.

Hutchings has shown no tactical nouse against any team we have played, Exeters players worked for each other, had options at all times, they ran and moved into space or made dangerous runs, how they didn’t score in the last twenty minutes is a miracle.

I had to count the players because they appeared to have more than the ten they were reduced to in the first half. Two attacks in within a minute by Exeter in that last period featured 2 strikers against 6 and the embarrassing spectacle of one of their players being chased by 4 of our players whilst our other 2 players, Lescott and Smith stood on the penalty spot watching the ball being passed to the other striker unmarked on the edge of the box. Only a block and a last ditch tackle and deflection for a corner prevented a goal.

Hutching’s response, take off our only effective midfielder and replace him with dopey Marshall just for good measure after he took off Macken and replaced him with Nicholls who proceeded to mark Reid until it occurred to him that they were both playing on the same side. What is the point of playing Gray in some sort of ‘drifting around a bit role’ and then spending half the match pointing at him and shouting instructions like ‘get inside Julian’????

Hutchings and O’Connor are responsible for the debacle not the players; it is their job to plan, organise and direct tactics. Clearly they are as capable as a pair of cabbages. Get rid of them, they are totally embarrasing. :evil:

Paul Marston, in his interview summed up the situation at Walsall perfectly. ‘The management team of Hutchings and O’Connor must ultimately take responsibilty for assembling the squad and the performance of the players this season, continuing to blame bad luck and lack of resources is the crutch of failure’

Boo hiss

I think every single fan, with the exception of the terminally afflicted pangloss types, now expects nothing out of this season other than a spot in this League for next season at best. We don’t ask for the impossible at Walsall too often, and now’s not the time for it either, we know what the resources are like.

What we do want isn’t a team full of champions, expensive as it would be. What we want is a champion team to do us proud every game. Is that too much to ask for?

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