A disappointing trip to Essex as the Saddlers slipped further down the table with a 1-0 defeat at Colchester. The penalty was a bit dodgy but in truth had it not been for Jimmy Walker we could have lost by five or six.
Priestley Saddler has supplied one of his typically comprehensive match verdicts on the message board
On the one hand I’d like to blame for the ref and linesman for the result. They scored one goal, which was a penalty that the linesman for a foul 5 yards outside the box. The only way he could possibly believe it was a penalty was the way the Colchester player waited until he was in the area before he went down. Not even the covering defenders (one or both of Beevers and Smith) were enough to stop Butler seeing red for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity, which is a one match ban not three I believe.
However, if it hadn’t been for a combination of Wacka and their striker thinking he was Fernando Torres we’d have probably lost by 5 or 6. The most worrying aspect is that Colchester looked like a team that hadn’t won in four and were desperately poor, but were still comfortably better than we were. On the balance of play we deserved exactly what we got from the game, but if the officials had done their jobs properly we’d have come away with a point.
With regards to the team selection, Martin was missing with an ankle injury. I wasn’t at the Scunthorpe game last week so can’t comment on how Lancashire played, but bringing Smith back in seemed odd. Chambers and Taundry still doesn’t work in the middle, quite when Deano will see this is anyones guess. I might start a sweepstake and see who can pick which match this pairing gets broken up first. As for tactics, after the red card Deano went 4-4-1, which is probably fair enough. However, this did imply he wanted to keep a player wide right, so I fail to see why to achieve this he decided to take off our right winger, who was our quickest and potentially creativest player, and stick Grigg there. To be fair to Grigg I thought he put a shift in on the right second half, but he was still a square peg in a round hole. In an attempt to chase the game we sacrificed our striker to bring on a right back, which sounds more harsh than it was. There was no pace in the side at all, and Westlake is quicker than Grigg. He was the option of an outlet but the fact that at that point that was our best bet should send alarm bells ringing for everyone.
Horrible place, ground in the middle of nowhere, and there’s no atmosphere inside it at all. Hope one of us get relegated so we don’t have to go there again next season, and praying we don’t draw them in the cup.
Walker – Comfortably MOTM. Rolled back the years with some really good stops, including one top class save in the second half. Also played as a sweeper and had a 30 second spell at right back where he was biting at there wingers heals by the corner flag.
Beevers – If Wacka was MOTM by a street then Beevers was without any question our best outfield player by the same margin. Defended well, was strong in the tackle, got forward well down the right and actually looked the most likely to drag us back into the game.
Sadler – Seems to have gone off the boil the last couple of games, and wasn’t great today. Took his time to get to grips with their winger (the one responsible for Butler’s red), who actually died in the third minute from an aerial clash. Soon recovered and was running around and falling over infront of the aforementioned hapless linesman.
Butler – I don’t recall a player previously having two red cards rescinded in such a short space of time, but its possible with Butler. Can’t really dispute the foul but was never a penalty or a red card.
Smith – Although I wouldn’t have started him, he didn’t do too badly. I still prefer him to Lancashire but played well today. Hoofed the ball a lot but mostly because none of the midfield quartet gave him the short option.
Taundry – I’d originally just written ‘Annonymous’ but felt the need to elaborate. He just didn’t seem to be involved. The only time I noticed him is when he wasn’t where he should have been and when he wasn’t giving the centre halves an option and leaving them to hoof it.
Chambers – Again, ‘Annonymous’ would have been sufficient. One of him or Taundry MUST give way. Our best performances have come when Peterlin has been in the side. Although after Chambers goal last week and Taundry’s two assists it was unlikely to be today.
Paterson - Unlucky to be brought off, but to be fair hadn’t done a great deal prior to being replaced. His corners, which always look good in the reserves, hit the first man today.
Hurst – Turning into a huff and puff man. Runs around a lot, slowly. Dribbles with it, then loses it. Attempts crosses, and hits the defender. Lots of effort but no quality to go with it. His position would be the one I’d be looking to strengthen, but Martin doesn’t look like the answer either.
Grigg – Was poor upfront but actually improved when switched to the right. The best way to sum his performance up is with an incident in the second half. Beevers played it down the right for Grigg to run on to. He looked up and played a blinding ball across the six yard box…but the fact he’d looked up means he shouldn’t have played that ball. He should have held it up and waited for support.
Macken – Ran his nads off with little or no support. Beat their left back for pace a couple of times which was probably the most shocking thing to happen today. Could have won a penalty in the second half if he’d hung his leg out and waited for contact rather than riding a challenge.
Lancashire – Its a bit odd that his two best performances this season have come when Butler hasn’t been on the pitch, both today and at Hartlepool. Didn’t seem to miss a lot today and why Deano keeps dropping him is a mystery to me.
Westlake – Came on for Grigg and played right wing, but didn’t really have much of an impact.
Jarvis – Tried a 30 yard lob that drifted about 6 feet over and was his only notable contribution.