Archive for October, 2011

Walsall 0-2 Plastic: sod’s law

Exile @ 9:44 am Sunday 30 October 2011

Keeper sent off, form team can only score two. What would it have been otherwise? Yet again, the Saddlers get the wrong throw of the dice. You make your own karma, one day it’ll come our way. Plenty of fans were at the game and those that were there don’t think we should dismiss our keeper or sack our manager. Here’s a match report from UTS regular Brackley:

I have got to congratulate the lads on a gutsy performance todayfollowing Wacka’s sending off, which for the record I thought was an absolute joke! Assuming the lino was right, it would have been that marginal and was never a clear goalscoring opportunity as their man had our defenders around him…….

I can never remember a season thats only a 1/3 of the way gone, where we have had so many players sent off and from recollection all poor decisions……… as for the standard of refereeing and linesmanship it is nothing short of abismal – I have never seen anything like it!! :evil:

Immediately after the sending off, with Beevers taking the gloves we conceded 2 poor goals……… you couldnt of course blame the lad………. and as im sure we all thought the afternoon was going to descend in to a complete farce and an embarrassing scoreline.

Deano – I dont know whether Grof picked up an injury in the warm up or whether you decided to go it without a keeper on the bench……… if it was the latter, there is no defending what is an extremely poor decision at this level and particularly when you can name 5 subs….. ???? :oops:

Tactically, we had no choice but to make the changes we did and for me they worked extremely well and vindicated my previous view of how we should be using Gnakpa……..Paterson is most definately the cream of our youth and was most certainly worthy of his place.

The second half for me was a total credit to all the players…….. what a performance when we looked dead and buried at half-time. We hit the post, we had numerous half-chances from headers or snap shots when in good positions and the lad Paterson had bullet of a shot from 25 yards palmed away when it looked destined for the top corner. We defended in numbers, we got behind the ball and we broke down their play extremely effectively and then counter-attacked with some intelligent play at times…….

Im sorry….. but we are on the most appalling streak of dare I say bad luck, judging the last 3 games – the lads deserve better. We have the nucleaus of a workmanlike but dogged Div 1 side that needs 2 or 3 players to bring some results and consistency.

The defensive unit was again solid, the midfield was organised and looked settled in the 2nd half and acquitted themselves well and the front line of Gnakpa, Paterson and Nicholls inter-changing brought some hope that we may claw our way back whilst Beevers showed his flair between the sticks.

You can hold your heads up high for that today fellas – there was no shame in that result or performance!!


Don’t forget to miss the first five minutes today…

Exile @ 11:24 am Saturday 29 October 2011

Don’t forget the national protest against the latest display of greed from the megabuck club of premiership businesses at the expense of bread and butter clubs below them in the football league (but oh so far above them in decency).
Further information at The 72 Unite website, or watch this for an outline of what you missed:
You Tube video

Walsall vs Franchise Preview

Neil @ 4:14 pm Friday 28 October 2011

It seems as if Dean Smith’s talk this week of needing a striker and bringing one in on loan was at least partly a red herring. Reinforcements have arrived today, but in the shape of Doncaster United’s midfielder Mark Wilson.

Wilson, a central midfielder, started his career at Manchester United, before Middlesbrough paid £1.5 million for him. He later moved to Doncaster, but has fallen out of favour there since the new manager came in. He is also a former under 21 International

Whatever impact he makes in the initial month, it has to be an improvement on what we have already.

Wilson goes straight into a squad which must still be reeling from Tuesday night’s debacle – a game lost, which, with a bit of luck, would have been won on any other day. Chambers will still be, presumably, unfit, (he’s rated only 50/50 as he looks to overcome the thigh problem which ruled him out of Tuesday’s game), so it’s likely he’ll start ahead of either Taundry or Peterlin. On Tuesday’s evidence, Taundry has to be favourite to step down. If Chambers is fit, we may well see both him and Wilson start.

Jon Macken still didn’t look completely fit on Tuesday, but, hopefully, another three days should have seen him OK.

As for the opposition, the revolting ones will be without full back Adam Smith.

Smith, on loan from Tottenham, will serve a one-match suspension following his red card for two bookable offences during the Franchise’s 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United on Tuesday night.

Fellow defenders Gary MacKenzie and Mathais Kouo-Doumbe are doubts with knocks. Kouo-Doumbe would be the natural cover for Smith, which could mean Adam Chicksen fills in at right-back if the Frenchman is not fit.

Meanwhile, a sickness bug has hit the plastic club camp this week. A handful of unnamed players are affected but boss Karl Robinson is hopeful that it will not impact too much on his selection options on Saturday

The Franchise go into this one in seventh place, just one point off the play offs, so the prospects don’t look good. What that fails to take into account, however, is that they are on a wretched run of form, having won just one of their previous nine games. If they let us play football, as Preston, another of the top sides did, then I think we can win this.

Walsall vs Exeter City Report

Neil @ 8:51 am Wednesday 26 October 2011

A really disappointing night. Priestley Saddler gives his usual balanced view:

What a thoroughly frustrating night. If that match had ended at 1-1 I’d have come on here gutted that we hadn’t won, as with the chances we had we should have…and then we went and lost!!! How did that happen?

To be fair it was a decent game, contributed too by the appalling weather conditions and two teams who were poor defensively, and it proved to be our downfall.

We started well and looked as dangerous as we’ve done all season, Nicholls hitting a rasping shot which their keeper almost managed to let slip through his legs. But yet within a minute of that we were behind. Their player had the ball, Westlake closed him down to a point (more on this later***) and basically invited him to shoot from distance. So he did, and he scored. A finish reminiscent of Tranmere’s opener on Saturday.

We weren’t behind for long, a poor goal kick was headed forward by Hurst for Nicholls to run on too and his finish was clinical. 1-1, damage undone. We should have been infront a couple of minutes after when Hurst had a shot from a similar position to Nicholls goal, only to see it cannon back off the inside of the post. We hit the post again in the second half when Macken curled one from the edge of the area (on first viewing it looked like it was going about 6 yards wide), which swung back brilliantly but cannoned away again off the outside of the post.

We looked the more likely winners but you could just sense we were equally capable of losing it and so it turned out. Their player went wide left to pick the ball up, Manny went with him while Westlake covered in the middle, but he left Manny dawdling behind him and hit a shot which I think Butler tried to clear but it went in off Wacka. It was down the ‘away’ end though so will have to see it again.

Still we shouldn’t have lost as with the final kick of the game Taundry curled one in which Grigg rose to meet. It was one of those where commentators say “It just needed any touch and it was a goal”, well he did touch it and still somehow managed to not get enough on it. It was the sort of chance Jorge used to miss regularly in his later years before falling to his knees with his head in his hands, if that makes it clearer for people to visualise. He’d have been better leaving it for Butler who was running in behind.

*** Now, this closing down business. What are we playing at? It was like watching the supporters team (I play in that team so can say that, and am guilty of exactly this!!), whereby we would close down the man on the ball to a point, until we were about two yards away from him. And then wouldn’t get any closer, and wouldn’t put a tackle in. It was almost as though they were scared to tackle in slippery conditions incase they picked up a booking. It cost us both goals and something that needs sorting out. For the most part we’ve been solid in defence which we’ve needed to be with our lousy attack. If the defence suddenly goes Pete Tong we are in trouble.

Walker – I think he was playing to orders on his distribution, as a lot of his goalkicks were taken short to one of his defenders. At least it did away to hoofing it straight to their centre back. Couldn’t save the first one and I think he was impeded by Butler for the winner.

Westlake – I would say his place is under threat, as the winner on Saturday and both goals tonight came down his side. Allowed their man to shoot for the first goal and was out of position for the second. Poor game from him.

Sadler – Probably the pick of the defenders without really excelling, as solid as anyone and good on the ball.

Smith – Didn’t have a bad game to be fair, he seems to be trying to avoid hoofing it quite so often, which can only be good. Doesn’t have the confidence yet though with possession so ends up going back to Wacka a lot. The big blot on his copybook was how he allowed their man to just waltz past him which contributed to their winner.

Butler – I thought it was his worst game for a while, and twice in the second half seemed to get directly in Wacka’s way, which also contributed in part to the winner.

Taundry – Dreadfully poor. It got to a point where I think even he realised that there was no point him doing anything as he’d just piece it up anyway, and as a result appeared to stop trying.

Peterlin – I think he’s the best central midfielder at the club (not the highest calibre competition in the world). Offers himself for the short ball on the defence and does his fair share of the ugly stuff too. Passing needs some work though as he does give the ball away from time to time.

Paterson – Is guilty of trying too much sometimes but that will come with experience. I really like him, the only player in the team who genuinely excites with the ball at his feet and is a good outlet on the left. I have a horrible feeling he’s about to lose his place to Gnakpa. Memo to Deano: Don’t do that!!!

Hurst – Proved once and for all tonight he’s not a left winger, by being brilliant on the right for 70 minutes, and then gash for the last 20 on the left. Another argument for keeping Paterson in the team. Claimed an assist and hit the post, and his set piece delivery was decent too. Got sponsors MOTM, which was fair enough even though I’d have given it to Nicholls.

Macken – Still doesn’t appear to be fully fit, but got 80 minutes under his belt. Played well and was unlucky to hit the post.

Nicholls – Very much a man in form, but as form is temporary. Will be interesting to see if it turns into genuine permanent class, I’ll admit to being sceptical. Can’t fault him tonight though, his finish for the goal was clinical and really put a shift in. My MOTM.

Walsall vs Exeter City Preview

Neil @ 9:01 am Tuesday 25 October 2011

These games are the defining moments of a season. The Saddlers are bumping along at the moment, just ahead of the bottom four, which makes home games against teams in that bottom four very, very important. Exeter (and Yeovil) look to be in some trouble this season already – and we have dropped two points at home to the second of those two teams already. There isn’t room for any mistakes here.

Dean Smith has a fully fit squad for the game, following Jon Macken’s second half substitute appearance at Prenton Park on Saturday. The Saddlers always look a more complete outfit with him, given his ability to hold the ball up and Claude Gnakpa’s return should also help, given his undoubted flair and need to prove himself.

Exeter are likely to be again without defender Richard Duffy. The Wales international is still recovering from an ankle injury which ruled him out of the Grecians’ vital win over Rochdale.

Spanish striker Guillem Bauza was withdrawn at half-time against Rochdale as he had tweaked a hamstring, and may start from the bench.

Fellow striker Daniel Nardiello, however, scored two in the win.


Nothing but a win will do and we should have enough fire power when at full strength to get the three points.

Tranmere Rovers vs Walsall Preview

Neil @ 12:47 pm Friday 21 October 2011

It’s a chance to carry on the good work from last week with a trip to the Wirral and Tranmere Rovers tomorrow afternoon.

The name Tranmere, for those interested, comes from the Norse for “sandbank where the cranes are”, although the only ones you are likely to see round there nowadays are the ones at the old Cammell Laird shipyard, rather than the feathered variety. It is a suburb of Birkenhead and was once one of the terminii for the “ferry cross the Mersey”.

Dean Smith should have a full strength squad available for the game. Dave Martin has returned to Derby from his loan (and would have been suspended anyway), which seems a shame after what was his best game for us last week, but Claude Gnakpa is fully fit now and Jon Macken should be returning to the squad after his injury.

Tranmere Manager Les Parry will probably name an unchanged team from that defeated Oldham 1-0 last weekend.

Joss Labadie returns from suspension and will compete for a place in the squad but Andy Robinson, Martin Devaney and Mark McChrystal are not yet fit enough to be included.

Mustafa Tiryaki scored his fourth goal of the season for the reserves in midweek and will be hoping for some involvement while the match could be Jose Baxter’s last game at Prenton Park before his loan spell from Everton ends next week.


Tranmere go into this one just five place and four points ahead of the Saddlers, so a win for the away aide would make the table look very healthy at this stage. Tranmere, however, have been dropping points away from home – at Prenton Park, they have looked very strong, winning three and drawing three of their seven games. I think we’ll have done well to come away with anything from this one, despite that excellent performance last week.

Walsall 1-0 Preston North End: schadenfreude

Exile @ 10:57 am Sunday 16 October 2011

After the awesome preview, the reality. I was expecting to write up a defeat so it was most amusing, gratifying and inspiring to see that Walsall managed to turn over one of the form teams of this division in no uncertain manner. UTS regular Brackley saw the action unfold and had this to say:

Every single player was on the money…….. what a difference!!

Wacka might as well have put the deck-chair out n read the newspaper…….. not a shot on target all game.

Apart from a spell in the early part of the second half we looked comfortable throughout :)

Whilst this was a good team performance, I would like to single out; Butler, Smith, Chambers and Nicholls – all were outstanding today. Just shows that when the spine of the team holds firm we start to look like a decent unit.

For me, our shape and discipline throughout was awesome. Having got our noses in front we frustrated them and allowed them to play in front of us and down the channels where they couldnt hurt us, we covered well and the work-rate/tempo was there for all to see…….. we werent cramped in the middle, we found space and made the angles and ran in to space…….. we played intelligent balls wide for the front men to peel off :D :D :D :D

Credit where credit is due………… we made a good side look very average, weve just got to do this week in week out now!

Nicholls was a flamin revelation, he has set the standards now and if he plays like that every week he will be bagging goals for sure….!

……. even the young lad Griggs turned up today – well done fella! still lots to learn, but made some good runs, came short and played some good link-up play without necessarily threatening. A big improvement from what ive seen in previous games and against good opposition.

This has really made by weekend………… BIG TIME!!! Absolutely tremendous :D :D :D :D :D


Have a chat about it on the message boards

Walsall vs Preston North End Preview

bangsection @ 3:34 pm Friday 14 October 2011

Before we get to this week’s match preview I think it’s only fair that I lay my cards on the table regarding our opponents. I’ve harboured an irrational dislike of Preston North End ever since we drew 1-1 at Deepdale in the FA Cup back in 1994. On the bus back to the train station I was forced to listen to two PNE fans expounding at length on how the replay was inconvenient but, essentially, a formality, and that clubs like Preston should really be beating dreadful little tinpot clubs like Walsall. Happily, the record books show that little old Walsall murdered their Lilywhite boys 4-0 in the replay – tee hee!

Of course, Preston are still a massive club – just as they were when we finished above them in the first Graydon promotion season, and they’ve adjusted better than any of the relegated clubs to life in League One this season, currently sitting fifth in the table with two games in hand on those above them. They clearly still have delusions of grandeur – last week they didn’t play because of the ‘International Break’ as a number of players were turning out for Benin or The Isle of Man or whatever. Two of them – Iain Hume and Keammar Daley – are doubts for the trip to The Banks’s. Hume has been a key component of North End’s excellent start to the campaign with five goals from his starting position behind the front two. Jamaican international Daley is a potential replacement for Hume although he is himself a doubt after returning from Honduras late this week. The Preston website describes one of Daley’s main attributes as “tormenting runs” which suggests he should probably lay off the curried goat for a while.

Other Preston players to look out for include Countdown champion and EXTREMELY NAUGHTY BOY Clarke Carlisle and Romany-haired spotkick specialist Graham Alexander, both of whom were regulars in the Premier League with Burnley just two seasons ago. No need to advise you to look out for Neil Mellor as the chunky targetman is hard to miss and regularly scores goals simply by standing on the penalty spot and allowing balls to ricochet off him into the net. Preston are managed by tango-faced karaoke merchant Phil Brown, so at least we won’t have to spend money turning the floodlights on for the second half.

For the Saddlers, Jon Macken will be desperate to face his old club but is currently rated only 50/50 for the game and may miss out. Peterlin and Chambers did OK against Wycombe so they may well continue in the middle while it remains to be seen whether Alex Nicholls’ goal in the same game will earn him a place alongside Jarvis (described, slightly strangely, on Preston’s website as “deadly” and having made a “huge impact” this season) or Will Grigg. Given that Paterson has been given a “license to thrill” by Dean Smith it will be interesting to see if he starts on the right.

Predictions? Preston had won seven league games in a row before their last League One outing at Orient (a surprise 2-1 defeat) and they’ll start heavy favourites. Home fans looking for a straw to clutch may take comfort from the fact that our best performance of the season came against the only other Top Six team we’ve played so far but this is going to be a huge test. However, given my antipathy towards our opponents I can’t quite bring myself to predict a defeat and it will be interesting to see how Preston adapt if Hume doesn’t play. 1-1.

Wycombe 1 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 1:50 pm Monday 10 October 2011

A point on Saturday extended the winless run. The Saddlers haven’t tasted 3 points since the back end of August. Priestley Saddler was at the game and offered this analysis on the message board

Hmmm, that was…worrying.

In the first half we played what is fast becoming our ‘normal’ game of keeping it tight at the back and not attacking. Hurst had one shot that their keeper pushed over but that was about it as an attacking threat. At half time it looked nailed on for 0-0 as they didn’t look like they could win it and we didn’t appear to think we could.

Deano’s after match comments said that their goal was a bad one to concede (aren’t they all!!), but I thought it epitomised how weak our attacking play is as there’s no way we’d have got in that position. Their winger took on Sadler, got to the byline, crossed it in low for their striker who stole a yard infront of Butler and put it in. I just can’t see us doing that, ever.

At that point we started to panic and passes were going astray and our fans we’re getting restless. “DEANO DEANO SORT IT OUT!” was the chant from the terraces, and Deano duly responded…by bringing on Alex Nicholls for the hapless Jarvis, at the time I thought he was taking the pee. Paterson replaced the equally hapless Grigg and suddenly we had two players with pace up front; the cynic in me expected us to resort to hoofing it up in the air to them. But, to our credit, we didn’t, and we tried to play a few through balls for them to run on to. We still didn’t seem to be getting anywhere though. Their goalkeeper took a goalkick in the 79th minute, I don’t remember him taking one up to that point. Not in front of us anyway.

Then, as if by magic, a mistake in their defence put NIchools through one on one with the onrushing keeper. One touch saw Nicholls round him and, just as I thought he was going to Torres it, took an extra touch and made sure he put it in. 1-1.

Suddenly we sprang into life. There was pace and energy, Chambers even remembered why he was signed by making a few quality tackles and breaking up the play and starting moves. It was gung ho from both teams and you kind of felt if the match had lasted another ten minutes one side or another might have created the chance to win it. However, if it had been us it would have been unfair on Wycombe.

What concerns me is if they hadn’t made a mistake we’d never have scored. We look like we’re their for the taking, all the time. We don’t look like we believe we can win and, given that we have Preston, Charlton and Huddersfield coming up, we’re going to get a right spanking if we’re not careful. That would seriously increase the pressure on Deano despite the fact [glass half full mode] we’ve only lost one in four [/glass half full mode]. If ever there was an argument for needing a proper striker with pace it was today with how we played with Nicholls and Paterson (two right wingers) up front. We didn’t lose but I feel like that is merely papering over the cracks.

Walker – Couldn’t have done anything with the goal, made a couple of decent stops and was generally as solid as ever.
Westlake – I didn’t really notice him so would appear to have had a quiet game, apart from when he was caught out once in the first half and their winger fired a dangerous cross across our box.
Sadler – Will be disappointed with the goal as it came down his side. Offered a threat going forward but he too has had better games.
Butler – I think this was his best game in a while. Will also be disappointed with the goal but that aside I think he played well, was strong in the tackle, commanding and even played the ball along the floor.
Smith – I’ve stated many times I think Lancashire is the better centre back, but I also think Deano needs to stick with a settled back four. With that in mind, and allowing for the fact Manny did nothing wrong today, I hope he keeps his place for a while.
Chambers – Was anonymous for large periods but, as I’ve stated above, really came into his own second half of the second half. If he keeps that up then things might start improving in midfield.
Peterlin – Definite improvement on Taundry and involved a lot. Midfield seemed a lot better with him there, especially once Chambers turned up.
Hurst – I think he’s better on the right where he played today, and with the right service from central midfield could be a threat when he runs diagonally from right to left.
Martin – His best league game for us, but not as good as Rochdale on Tuesday. I’d be looking to extend his loan if we could.
Jarvis – Had one chance, but his head must be shaped like a fifty pence piece as he managed to put a free header wide from about 8 yards, his last contribution. Not great and not his best game, but I do think the way he’s treated by our fans is harsh.
Grigg – Was he playing? I genuinely don’t remember him touching the ball and assume he only stayed on as long as he did because Deano forgot he was there.


Gnakpa – Always looks capable of doing something, but never seems to manage it. At 1-1 was running with the ball and had Westlake in tonnes of room outside him, but ended up coming inside and chance was gone.
Nicholls – Seems to like playing at Wycombe, I think its the third goal he’s scored there. To be fair he couldn’t miss.
Paterson – Gave us a pacey outlet upfront in his brief cameo. I’d have started him on the right instead of Hurst..

Wycombe Wanderers vs Walsall Preview

bangsection @ 1:59 pm Friday 07 October 2011

The Football League have today confirmed that should Walsall lose at Wycombe on Saturday they will automatically be relegated to League Two. Spokesman Gavin Willacy said: “It’s a highly unusual move but given both teams’ poor start to the season we’ve decided to put one set of fans out of their misery, so we’ll be demoting their club immediately after the final whistle.” In a further twist, should the match end in a draw the game will go to penalties – with the five drunkest, most obnoxious supporters from each team taking the spot kicks rather than the players themselves.

So, everything to play for then! Both sides will be looking to make up for the disappointment of midweek Paint Pot Trophy exits – Walsall of course losing on pens at Spotland, while Wycombe bowed out 3-1 at the hands of Cheltenham Town. The Chairboys (surely one of the worst nicknames in football – for years I assumed it was a typo and that their real nickname was the Choirboys, also a terrible nickname but at least it makes sense) have had rather a turbulent week. The defeat to Cheltenham was their ninth in the last eleven games and after calling for a reaction to their own loss at Rochdale the previous Saturday, manager Gary ‘Shockaholic’ Waddock was furious with the manner of the defeat on Tuesday.

Waddock is already under pressure at Adams Park after Wanderers’ poor start to the season and when quizzed on whether he would be bringing any new players in actually asked whether the reporter “had any money”. Nevertheless, he has brought in a new face this week with left back Grant Basey coming in on loan from Peterborough with a view to shoring up a defence that has conceded 29 goals in 15 games so far. He may not start against us but it’s interesting to note that Wycombe gave a debut to 15-year old starlet Jordan Ibe on Tuesday and he responded by setting up their solitary goal in a performance described by Waddock as the only positive of the night. The scorer of that goal is an old friend of ours: Kevin Betsy, the poor man’s Julian Gray. Other players to look out for include veteran captain and former Saddlers loanee Gareth Ainsworth, and influential midfielder Scott Donnelly who is on a season-long loan from Swansea and has already scored four times this term.

Off the pitch, Wycombe owner Steve Hayes announced this week that he was putting the other club he owns – Wasps RFC – up for sale. Hayes has been a controversial figure since he took over the previously community owned club in 2009 and while it might seem like good news that their owner is in line for a potential windfall and will be able to concentrate on the football club alone there is an excellent piece on why that might not necessarily be the case here:

Walsall’s team selection is very hard to call. Alex Nicholls should have done enough on Tuesday night to secure Ryan Jarvis a berth up front alongside Will Grigg, although Gnapka is another option available to Dean Smith. David Martin impressed at Rochdale and will be looking to start ahead of Kevan Hurst while resting Patterson in midweek suggests he will continue on the right after his assist against Carlisle. Perm one from Smith and Lancashire to partner Andy Butler, and two from Peterlin, Chambers and @Taundz in the middle of the park.

Predictions? Their dogged win against Sheffield United apart, Wycombe have been poor so far this season and if Deano can’t get the boys up for this one we’re in deep doodoo. Patterson and Martin to put the Chairboys in their place: ‘Lers for the win.

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