Archive for November, 2011

Stevenage 0-0 Walsall: Keeping up with the Cloggers

Exile @ 4:19 am Monday 28 November 2011

UTS regular bangsection summed up the “football” game against Stevenage best with his succinct comments:

Horrible game, great point.

Graham Westley’s brand of football is well documented but I was still pretty appalled to see it first hand. It’s like a sort of dystopian vision of football in the future where the game is a more cynical version of rugby union played in front of 2,500 people with no cultural heritage.

Match report: Hoof, head, hoof, head, foul, dive, hoof, tug, block, dive, grab, head, hoof, tug, dive, hoof. All played out to the soundtrack of a very angry man shouting swear words at the top of his voice. There was also a twunt with a drum.

Deaninho set us up 4-3-3 to contain Stevenage and it worked but we offered very little going forward. That said, Lancashire and Smith did everything asked of them, as did the midfield trio of Chambers, Wilson and @Taundz. Nicholls, Grigg and Macken had a thankless task up front but Grigg didn’t look up for the battle today at all I’m afraid. Macken blasted our best chance of the game out of the ground from 6 yards out.

You can see how Stevenage have bullied better teams than us into submission this season so a point is a very good return. We’re actually pretty good at the backs to the walls stuff this season but we need to start seizing the initiative – especially at home.

Nice to tick it off the list but I have no desire to go to Stevenage again any time soon. Dreadful place, dreadful manager, dreadful team.

Fingers crossed by the time they come to Walsall at the end of March most referees will have seen enough of their atrocious brand of football to make the return match a more entertaining feature. Certainly no “twunts with drums” should be allowed in – goes without saying, if freedom of speech banners are banned there should be no freeom of beats.

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Stevenage v Walsall weekend preview

roger6 @ 4:34 pm Friday 25 November 2011

Walsall travel to one of the newer league clubs tomorrow in a classic tale of two clubs with contrasting fortunes on the pitch. Dean Smith and his Walsall boys are staring down the barrel having failed to win in their last 7 away. Despite a cup success in extra time over Exeter midweek, defeat tomorrow could see the Saddlers slip into the relegation zone.

Andy Halliday our new signing from Middlesborough could make his debut. He is a winger recovering from a groin problem. Good luck to the fella.

Tough team Stevenage. A good manager with his heart firmly in Stevenage following two spells at the club and bringing them league football for the first time in their history. Not only that, Westley then took the Hertfordshire outfit straight up to League One the following season.

It won’t be a match for the purist tomorrow though, Stevenage have a reputation for being direct and defensively very solid. Only two goals conceded in the last 7 and they are unbeaten in that time. They are coming off the back of a 0-0 at Orient last time out.

Stevenage have also managed to grab a loan signing from Arsenal boasting the cracking name Chuks Aneke. He might make his debut tomorrow.

Prediction: better teams than us have visited Stevenage in the last three years and got nothing. As mentioned they are rock solid at the back. But Walsall are at their best when expectations are low, so expect a surprise coupon-busting 1-0 Saddlers triumph.

Walsall vs Exeter City – 1st Round Replay

Neil @ 2:55 pm Thursday 24 November 2011

So, this is what the second round of a Cup competition looks like? It took an extra time winner, but we are through to the second round safely. Pedagogue supplies the report:

The flow of the scoreline was exciting even if the football played wasn’t. We were worthy winners. I think that there were only 7 on-target shots in the whole of the match but 5 of them produced goals! Very disappointing (but not surprising, given last Saturday’s shambles) attendance of only 2,089.

Walker – had little to do apart from one good save and picking the ball out of the net twice.

Beevers – very competent display, supporting the attack on a few occasions
Butler – not his usual dominant self but made no major errors
Lancashire – generally competent, made a few mistakes but nothing serious
Sadler – back to his best following his torrid time, last Saturday

Taundry – usual honest graft but not a lot of quality
Chambers – big improvement on last Saturday (not too difficult!), made some vital tackles but still flits in and out of the game
Wilson – definitely our best midfield player, always in the thick of things, hope his groin strain is not too serious
Nicholls – sponsors’ MotM (mine too), worked his socks off and scored a cracking goal

Macken – snatched a vital close-range goal which lifted the team, but was generally poor
Grigg – did little but he and Macken both suffer from poor support and service at times

Bowerman (for Grigg) – took the winning goal with a superb, coolly-struck shot
Jarvis (for Macken) – strange substitution , rather than Paterson (at that time), worked hard but achieved little
Peterlin (for Wilson) – came on to shore up the midfield when Wilson limped off

This long-overdue win comes at just the right time in view of the next two matches. With one new loan signing on board, Deano only has this Thursday to sign any more.

Onwards and upwards!

Paterson Signs Extended Contract

Neil @ 5:06 pm Monday 21 November 2011

Jamie Paterson has become the second emerging talent to sign a new contract for the Saddlers, following in the footsteps of Will Grigg.

The talented young wide man has impressed fans with his appearances for the first team this season .

His new deal will keep him at Banks’s Stadium until the end of the 2013/14 season.

“I’m happy to get things sorted,” he told the official site. “I can now concentrate on my football and helping the club push on up the League One table. We have an important period ahead of us and I want to play my part in making it a successful one for the club.

“Things have all happened very quickly for me; I wasn’t involved much during the opening month of the season, but I’ve always had faith in my ability and in recent months I’ve started to play a few more games and make a contribution.

“Now I’ve got my first goal out of the way, I want to push on and add to my tally. I have the chance to really establish myself and I will be working hard so that my game will continue to develop.

Walsall 2-4 Bury: Dross

Exile @ 9:14 pm Sunday 20 November 2011

Walsall went down 4-2 at home to a more spirited Bury side.

First, a quick poll:


Are we going down this season?
  • Yes, we're doomed (50%, 150 Votes)
  • No, we'll survive (27%, 82 Votes)
  • Yes, unless we change the manager (23%, 67 Votes)

Total Voters: 299

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WFC_Rob, a messageboard regular, was at the match, and sums up our dismal day as follows:

If Smith doesn’t stick to the statement he made a couple of months ago and ship those players out who just aren’t good enough, we might as well give up now.

Yesterday’s game was strange in that nobody had an absolute mare, which suggests to me that the lot of them just lack the quality needed at this level. In the second half, Bury found a gear which was about four gears higher than the one we were playing at – man for man, they looked leagues above us.

Things just aren’t working for Dean Smith and he needs to see that no amount of drills on the training ground will turn this group of players into anything other than bottom six strugglers.

I could list four players who started yesterday’s game for us, yet probably wouldn’t get into any other league one side.

Beevers is solid enough, but does he really have the quality on the ball to help us keep the ball?
Manny Smith – same as Lee Beevers. Great as long as the opposition use the same long ball tactics as us, but that rarely happens.
Gnakpa – really wanted him to prove me wrong, but he gives us nothing other than someone to aim goal kicks at. Laziness like his is unforgivable.
Nicholls – One month on from what many considered to be his best game for the club and we’re back to where we were before. No presence, no threat.

The other players are ok, but don’t have quality in such abundance that they can carry a handful of their team-mates. For all the hype about Paterson, he wastes more of the ball than he uses wisely. That will only improve with time in the side, but is he really likely to develop into the player he should in this team, under this manager?

The disappointment yesterday wasn’t that we lost – it was that we were absolutely battered in every single area of the pitch by a side who are mid-table at best.

So, some things to ponder for Smith and the gang as Walsall get comfy in the League One departure lounge.

Walsall v Bury Preview

bangsection @ 10:50 am Friday 18 November 2011

There are a number of reasons why it’s brilliant to be in the same division as Bury again. First and foremost they are about as ‘proper’ as football teams get. Single word name without any of that ‘Town’ or ‘United’ rubbish? Check. Proper ground? Check. Won all their major honours before tinpot clubs like Chelsea were even formed, thereafter basically retiring from football before it went cack to enjoy their ‘properness’? Check.

Bury are essentially the anti-Stevenage and anyone going to Broadhall Way a week on Saturday to tick it off the list (guilty) would do well to inhale the aroma drifting out of the away end against The Shakers (best nickname in football? Check) as a sort of antidote to arriviste clubs with odious managers from appalling Home Counties dormitory towns. The odour that will fill your nostrils will almost certainly be that of Bury’s greatest culinary export – black pudding. This is no lazy ‘flat cap and whippet’ cliché and is a great excuse to wheel out my favourite Bury fact. Did you know that tests for colorectal cancer in the Bury area (which measure blood in stools) are unreliable as the natives eat so much black pudding that their tests are often falsely positive? A commitment to pork byproduct-based gluttony that anyone from the Black Country would be proud of!

Famous sons of Bury with connections to UTS posters include the late King Crimson drummer Ian Wallace and, of course, former Manchester United and England full back Phil Neville.

And so to the football. Bury boast no fewer than three former Saddlers in their ranks. Andy Bishop has (I think) scored more goals than any player who started their professional career with us since David Kelly. Yup, more than Fryatt, more than Hawley, more than Mickey Ricketts – even more than Clive Platt and Beano Constable! Granted, he scored a fair few of those in the Conference with York, but the lad’s carved out a decent career for himself as a lower league striker and he will undoubtedly be a threat. Former Saddlers skipper Mark Hughes will miss the game having been sent off in Bury’s last match. Hughes turned down a new contract at Bescot a couple of seasons ago to pursue his dream move to, er, Townsville to join North Queensland Fury in the Australian top flight. Unfortunately, Fury folded after finishing bottom of the league and despite interest from other clubs down under, Hughes returned to the UK, signing for Bury in the summer. Former loan signing Peter Sweeney is ex-Saddler number three. Sweeney had a decent spell at Bescot in 2007 but it was still a surprise when he signed for Leeds the following January. After making only nine appearances in two seasons for the ‘Champions of Europe’ (TM) Sweeney moved to Grimsby before helping Bury to promotion last season.

Bury also have a Sodje – and it’s the original and the best: marauding centre half Efe, with his colourful bandanas and occasionally comical defending!

The Shakers come into the game on the back of a 2-0 home FA Cup defeat to the dreadful Crawley Town. It was, by all accounts, a shocking performance by Richie Barker’s men and the manager criticised fans for their reaction during the week claiming slightly strangely that supporters were “allowed to abuse me, but not the team”. Bury’s away form is pretty good this season although the teams they’ve beaten have mainly been in or around the bottom four. Apart from the injured Kevan Hurst and Darryl Westlake, and the suspended Andy Butler, Deano has a full squad to select from and this is a match where recent good performances need to coalesce into a tasty black pudding of a win.

1-0.

Exeter 1 Walsall 1

roger6 @ 10:28 am Monday 14 November 2011

A last gasp equaliser saw safe passage through to the 2nd round dashed and an unwelcome replay next week at the Bescot. Priestley Saddler was there but was so cheese off he only posted a brief reaction on the message board:

AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! How incredibly infuriating!! At no point over the course of the match did I think we wouldn’t win that. We were the best team in the first half and deserved to be leading at the break. And in the second half, despite them having the lions share of the possession and chances, I never really felt like they were going to score. The fact it was the last kick of the game that denied us coupled with a slightly late kick off and four minutes of injury time (which was fair in my opinion) meant it didn’t actually go in til 4:58 was, to quote Deano, “A kick in the nads”.

The winners of the replay will at least face a money-spinning clash with cup giants Dagenham or Bath City.

Messageboard now up

Exile @ 11:38 pm Monday 07 November 2011

Upgrade has been completed. Please log any problems you find!

Messageboard upgrade

Exile @ 11:36 pm Monday 07 November 2011

The UTS messageboard is currently down, as our multinational and multitalented IT crew work hard to upgrade us to the latest versions of whatever we use to make it all happen.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, meanwhile please accept our apologies for any delay and go listen to some peaceful music!

A point grabbed at Huddersfield!

roger6 @ 2:00 pm Sunday 06 November 2011

Not many predicted the Saddlers would travel to Huddersfield who haven’t been beaten at home for half a century or something and we’d come away with a point. But that’s what happened yesterday after a 1-1 draw. Belgian Saddler was there and gave this upbeat assessment via the message board:

Fantastic performace today in terms of effort and commitment and no little skill either. We set our stall out and stuck to the game plan. We packed the midfield but even then they had the ability to make space at times. Obviously we rode our luck at times but we got a couple of slices of luck that have been missing in recent weeks. We didn’t even have anyone sent off, what’s that all about!!

Defended well in the first half without really threatening, Macken had a half chance but that was about it from us going forward but we soaked up their pressure. On the other hand they rarely looked like scoring and when they did Groff made a couple of fantastic saves, one of which was absolutely awesome. You can see why they are a good side, they had an air of patience about them and I had the feeling that eventually that would pay off which it did when they scored, though when it came it was a pretty soft goal. After that we improved going forward and looked dangerous a couple of times. Then on comes Patterson, he gave them a couple of tasters of what he could do and then scored a fantastic goal. This kid really does have the potential to be class. He has skill and pace and is clearly not short of confidence. OK he is still a bit lightweight and it would be unfair to expect him to do things like today consistently as he is stilll young but he is the most exciting player we have got. The goal was class.

After the goal we could of even won it, we attacked them and had them rattled a couple of times. Grigg did really well to capitalise on their centre back being a donkey and almost lobbed the keeper for what would have been a not undeserved winner.

Whole team and management deserve massive credit for todays performance. Groff and the defence were superb. Midfield coped with one of the best teams in the division and even looked creative and threatening going forward on occasions. Macken worked his socks off with little support in the first half. Patterson and Grigg really caused them problems when they came on.

Listening to some of their fans walking back to the car was hilarious…. ‘rubbish manager….. never do nowt with him in charge…… doesn’t know what he’s doing…..’ I kid you not One of the few who actually said anything sensible said they wish they still had Butler rather than the donkeys they have got and I know who I would rather have.

Actually came away a little disappointed we had not won. Anyone who cannot see that this team and Deano have got some potential either did not go today or is a complete moron. Now we really need to take this kind of performance and spirit into the next few games. Proud to be a Saddler tonight.

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