Archive for December, 2011

Walsall vs Rochdale Preview

Neil @ 5:18 pm Friday 30 December 2011

Weird being a Saddler, isn’t it? After a disappointing season so far, the team turn out a performance as good as the one against Wednesday on Boxing Day. It would make you wonder what the heck were going on – if there wasn’t an explanation for it. As I said before the Chesterfield game, we will be better away from home or against the good teams, purely because the game will be more open. We just dont have the creativity in the side to break down defences of poor sides back on our home turf. Unfortunately, of course, it is creativity that is the most expensive thing to aquire.

Dean Smith has no new injury or suspension concerns ahead of the visit of second-bottom Rochdale.

Claude Gnakpa stepped off the bench to bag an injury-time equaliser and the Frenchman may have played himself into contention for a starting berth against managerless Dale, although Smith will be reluctant to make too many changes to his starting eleven.

Manny Smith passed a fitness test to face the high-flying Owls and, having netted the late winner, will again start at the heart of defence alongside skipper Andy Butler.

Olly Lancashire (hamstring) misses out again while fit-again midfielder Kevan Hurst (probably our most creative player) is closing in on his return from a broken bone in his heel but may need more match practice before being considered.

Meanwhile, over at our opponents, Chris Beech, the new caretaker manager, will be making his debut in the job, as their last game, at Tranmere, was postponed, when the stands at Prenton Park started to blow down.

Captain Gary Jones should return from injury for the visitors, but midfielders Joe Thompson (thigh) and Simon Hackney (abdominal) are long-term absentees, alongside defensive duo Marc Twaddle (back) and Pim Balkestein (groin).

Goalkeeper David Lucas will be assessed ahead of the contest having having suffered a head injury in the defeat to Sheffield United earlier this month.

Predictions?

Rochdale have won 2, drawn 1 and lost 7 of their 10 away games this season, so we ought to be favourites – mind you, we’ve only won 3 at home! We ought to have enough to win, however, especially if they make the mistake of trying to play football!

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Saddlers 2 Wednesday 1

roger6 @ 7:27 pm Monday 26 December 2011

8000+ at the Bescot today to witness a remarkable injury-time turnaround as Walsall stunned the high-flying owls 2-1 with two goals in six minutes time allowed. The victory was in no small part down to Saddlers and UTS regular Funk Hits the Fan who was attending his first game for 5 years – his thoughts were left on our message board:
Just could not see where a goal was coming from, although we looked solid there was absolutely nothing going forward – although the same could be said for Wednesday – a typical Gary Megson team.

I’m hoarse, jubilant and have been well and truly reminded of how good it can be following Walsall. BIG SHOUT out to the Saddlers fans today, I have been on here a lot slagging of the lack of atmosphere but the boys & girls really got behind the side and gave the huge vocal Sheffield following as good as they got.

This board is often negative (including me a lot for the time) but I can’t find any negatives today the way I am feeling. It’s good to be back!

Chesterfield 1 Walsall 1 report

roger6 @ 3:51 pm Sunday 18 December 2011

The Saddlers went to basement club Chesterfield yesterday and were within 16 seconds of nicking a 1-0 win. But veteran Jack Lester equalised meaning Walsall missed the chance to grab a vital three points.

Pedagogue was at the game and offers this considered analysis via the message board:

A frustrating game – overall, we should be grateful for a point because, over the full 90 minutes, Chesterfield were the less bad team. Yet it could so easily have been a welcome rare away win. How many times have we conceded a goal in the closing minutes, this season? Lester’s equaliser came on 44 minutes and 44 seconds of the second half! In the first half, without ever dominating play, we always looked in control. However, in the second half, play was nearly all in our half. Luckily for us, the Spireites are as crud in front of goal as we are.

Walker – did what he had to do, well, with ever being really extended.

Westlake – steady performance, nothing outstanding, but no major mistakes, either.
Beevers – a workmanlike performance. Although he’s not quite good enough to get into our full-strength starting XI, he does provide reliable cover along the back four.
Butler – usual performance, excellent headers, tackles and blocks but bloody awful distribution.
Sadler – good performance again.

Taundry – as usual, worked his socks off and gave good support to Westlake.
Peterlin – who?
Chambers – see Peterlin – if Peterlin and Chambers are the answer, what on earth was the question? Totally anonymous again. In their defence, I will say that the distribution of Walker and the back four usually by-passes them. You don’t need a conventional midfield when your defenders play “hoofball”. Can somebody on the coaching staff PLEASE do something about this?
Paterson – wide left is not his best position but he is still learning (and hopefully “filling out”). Always looks more dangerous when cutting into the penalty-area.

Nicholls – worked tremendously hard right across the width of the pitch. Took his goal well. My MotM.
Macken – the old warhorse was a good player in his day but he is now well past his “best before” date.

Grigg (for Macken) – no improvement on the old man (even worse, in fact)
Halliday (for Paterson) – not enough time on pitch.
Bowerman (for Westlake) – reshuffle saw Taundry drop to right-back. Bowerman managed one on-target shot but it was too weak.

I am still concerned about the style (or lack of it) of our football. Persistent “big boot” upfield to a dwarf forward line, none of whom could head their way out of a wet paper bag. This suggests poor coaching. Even if we do sort this out, we still need a couple of midfield players.

Listening to BBC Radio Dingle (yeah, I know!) on the way home, I heard that Deano and some of the players were complaining that Jack Lester (who went on to score the equaliser) should have been sent off for elbowing Chambers in the face. We can’t comment on that because we were all in the North Stand while all the action was in our half, at the other end!

Nice little ground – no stanchions, Roy! The traffic management outside was just as bad as at Bescot, though.

Chesterfield vs Walsall Preview

Neil @ 1:31 pm Friday 16 December 2011

Thank God we’re away tomorrow.

That might seem a strange thing to say, considering the need for points and the fact we were so abysmal on Tuesday night in the Cup, but there is a logic to that. I was discussing the difference between the excellent perfromance at home to Charlton on Saturday, followed by the terrible one on Tuesday. When asked what the difference was, I said that Charlton came thinking that the point were “in the bag” and played an open, attacking style. That gave us the chance to play football. Dagenham, on the other hand, came to keep it tight in midfield and at the back and our lack of any creativity in the side made sure that we couldn’t break them down. One of the group said he had predicted right at the start that our best performances would come gainst the good sides and away from home, for exactly that reason, and that is the way it is turning out. Mind you, that still doesn’t explain to me why Peterlin, the most creative of the three central midfielders on Tuesday night, was playing the deepest!

It looks as if the team may well be picking itself for the game. Lancashire must be out, following his hamstring problem, and so, we must assume, will be Manny Smith, after his kick in the face (wht wasn’t that a foul, ref?), which left him groggy and missing some teeth. That gives a back four of Westlake, Beevers, Butler and the returning Sadler.

Of the rest, Hurst is back in training, but unlikely to play, so that may mean no changes at all, although I would prefer going back to 4 4 2 with the current line up and give Bowerman a chance to start with Macken. Jarvis, of course, is still suspended.

Chesterfield will be hoping veteran (and dangerous) striker Jack Lester can shake off his virus.

Leading scorer Leon Clarke’s loan spell ended after the defeat at Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday, so he will have retuned to Swindon to see if he can avoid another row with Paolo Di Canio. That means either Lester or Jordan Bowery should come in, though Scott Boden, scorer of a hat-trick in the midweek County Cup game, could be in for a recall.

Defender Neal Trotman hopes for a start following the Spirites letting three in Adams Park last week, with Aaron Downes is most likely to make way if he gets the nod. Nathan Smith’s hamstring should enable him to be considered but loan left back Scott Griffiths’ form should keep him in the role.

Dean Morgan, scorer of both goals last weekend, should continue after what, up to that point, had been a disappointing season for him. Former Saddlers player Dwayne Mattis played 90 minutes in the reserves’ game with Heanor Town on Tuesday.

Predictions?

This is a team in even worse form than we are. Chesterfield’s dreadful home form has resulted in just 1 victory and 1 draw from their last six played. While Spireites have scored 10, a worringly large 15 have been leaked at the other end. Meanwhile, our away form is losing just 1 from the last six, but drawing the other 5. Only 5 goals have been registered in this time, with 6 leaked at the wrong end. On form, this should be a narrow away win, but who knows!!!!

Walsall 0-0 Daggers (2-3 on pens): Sweet FA

Exile @ 12:18 am Wednesday 14 December 2011

By all accounts the faithful were served up a dish of dross at the pre-Christmas feast for famine night at Bescot. On the positive side, we kept another clean sheet in open play, but that’s the only positive. A shameful result, the bad taste of which will linger for a long time.

Asps was at the match and saw it like this:

An abject disgrace of a performance. Smith needs to take a long look at himself and the players he’s signed.

In addition to all said by other posters above, it was a terrible use of subs again tonight. All ours used by 70 minutes, when all could see extra time was coming.

Nichols should never wear the shirt again. How anyone can try to bend a penalty around an imaginary wall is beyond me. He can retire and clean cars at the end of this season.

Freezing cold night & no warm drinks after 60 minutes as shop shut – ffs only at Walsall.

You can comment on the match thread here and from there you can navigate to All About Walsall and have your say about the rest of the season, Smith and whatever else tickles your fancy, or makes your butt itch.

Walsall 1 Charlton 1 ~ match report

roger6 @ 11:28 pm Saturday 10 December 2011

I will be king
And you
You will be queen
Though nothing will
Drive them away
We can beat them
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
Just for one day

And you
You can be mean
And I
I’ll drink all the time
‘Cause we’re lovers
And that is a fact
Yes we’re lovers
And that is that

Though nothing
Will keep us together
We could steal time
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
For ever and ever
What d’you say

I
I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins
Like dolphins can swim
Though nothing
Will keep us together
We can beat them
For ever and ever
Oh we can be Heroes
Just for one day

I
I will be king
And you
You will be queen
Though nothing
Will drive them away
We can be Heroes
Just for one day
We can be us
Just for one day

I
I can remember
Standing
By the wall
And the guns
Shot above our heads
And we kissed
As though nothing could fall
And the shame
Was on the other side
Oh we can beat them
For ever and ever
Then we can be Heroes
Just for one day

We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
We’re nothing
And nothing will help us
Maybe we’re lying
Then you better not stay
But we could be safer
Just for one day

Your view
http://www.upthesaddlers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=38842

Walsall vs Charlton Athletic Preview

Neil @ 1:42 pm Friday 09 December 2011

The League leaders at home – just what you need when you’ve been going through a bad patch.

This will be a completely different proposition from the Charlton Athletic of last season, when, despite a lot of supposedly big names at this level, they under performed badly, to the extent, of course, that we ended up doing the double over them. In fact, despite a lot of talk about us being “lucky” because of Plymouth’s points deduction, the 6 points gained, deservedly, against tomorrow’s opponents was crucial to the survival campaign.

This season, under the management of Chris Powell, they have become a very different outfit, culminating in them ending Huddersfield’s record breaking run last week.

Dean Smith will be boosted by the return to fitness of Captain Andy Butler, such an important part of the team, and of young full back Westlake, although it remains to be seen if he will start. That makes the suspended Jarvis and the still recovering Hurst the only absentees.

As for Charlton, they will welcome back Hogan Ephraim to the squad. The on-loan winger was unavailable for last weekend’s FA Cup win over Carlisle as parent club QPR do not want him cup-tied.

They will still be without their influential goal scoring midfielder and captain Johnnie Jackson, who has a hamstring injury, and fellow midfielder Dale Stephens following an ankle operation.

Manager Chris Powell made six changes for the Carlisle match and is set to revert to the bulk of the side which ended Huddersfield’s unbeaten run the previous Monday.

That should mean returns for goalkeeper Ben Hamer, defender Matt Taylor, Ephraim and strikers Bradley Wright-Phillips and Yann Kermorgant, while Andy Hughes is likely to start in central midfield if Darel Russell does not shake off a calf knock.

Predictions?

Well, we can hope for the “Manager of the Month” award curse to strike Powell, but it sees to have lost its potency all of a sudden. Of he 13 managerial awards handed out this season – the August, September and October accolades for the Championship, League One and League Two, and the first four monthly Premier League awards – only two sides have tasted defeat. It doesn’t look good for the Saddlers, with Charlton having won 8, drawn 1 and lost just 1 away from home this season and I, for one, would be delirious with a point!

Dagenham 1 Walsall 1 – FA Cup

roger6 @ 6:30 pm Sunday 04 December 2011

The Saddlers made the 3rd round draw of the FA Cup but only just, and they still have to overcome Dagenham in a replay if they are to earn a match against everyone’s favourite Millwall.

Addis Saddler was at the game and reveals it was squeaky time bum time:

I really hope we don’t get the “Dagenham away was always going to be tough” and “the main thing is we are still in the draw” lines because that really was dreadful.
We were very lucky to go in level at half-time. D&R had way too much of the ball in the last third of the field. Our tactics seemed to be simply hitting long balls for Macken and Grigg to run on to (!) – is this because we have no confidence in our midfield?
Will Grigg is due a rocket from someone if he is to fulfill his potential, at present he gives the impression that he’s just waiting for a big move somewhere. It ain’t going to happen for him unless he shows more effort. Bowerman was far more mobile when he came on, he really looks like he could make something of himself. Macken I suspect is in his final season, he is a better player than the one we are currently seeing.
I thought there would be one goal in it so when Claude squeezed his header in (should their keeper have kept it out?) I thought we’d done enough to sneak a fortunate win. Fair play to D&R though, cracking goal to level things up. We looked better when the subs came on and I was left thinking that I would like to see Gnakpa and Bowerman up front. GK to win balls and GB to feed off him.
We ought to be favourites to win the replay but I am not confident. A lot depends on who is more tempted by the 3rd round opponents.
Decent turn out today from Saddlers. I do feel for D&R, as I was coming out of the station before the game there were lots of West Ham fans going the other way…..

Dagenham and Redbridge vs Walsall FA Cup 2nd Round Preview

Neil @ 12:41 pm Friday 02 December 2011

There aren’t many better opportunities to get through to the Third Round of the FA Cup and, potentially, an away draw against one of the big boys and the revenue that would bring into the club, than this. We’ve beaten a team from higher up our division in the first round and have now been drawn away against a side some 26 places below us in the League structure. Trouble is, of course, as the trip under Merson to Slough proved, the Cup can be a great leveller and the obvious doesn’t always happen.

Dean Smith has received one big blow this week with the recall of Mark Wilson (who, at least, came on as a sub for Doncaster in the week). His other problems are the absence of Westlake with his injury and the possible continuing absence of Hurst, a player whose creativity has been missed.

As for the Daggers, Josh Scott will start his first game in over a year . The 26-year-old striker missed most of last season having been diagnosed with a blood clot on his lung and then missed further time this year with cartilage damage in his knee.

He has returned to make a handful of substitute appearances recently and manager John Still has insisted he will start against the Saddlers.

Striker Cristian Montano has not been granted permission to play by his parent club West Ham, while fellow loanees Exodus Geohaghon (so we wont be up gainst one of the best names in the game) and Adam Cunnington have already played in the competition and are cup-tied.

Midfielder Kevin Maher (ankle) could return to the squad after coming through 90 minutes unscathed in a midweek friendly.

The Daggers have several long-term injury absentees with captain Mark Arber (hernia), midfielder Luke Howell (knee) and strike duo Rob Edmans (broken leg) and Sam Williams (knee) still sidelined.

Predictions?

Dagenham are in the bottom two of the Division and in danger of returning to non League, so they will be just as desperate as we are for a chance of a big tie in the third round. At home, they have won just 2, drawn 1 and lost 7, as against the Saddlers won 1, drawn 4, lost 4 away from the Banks’s. This looks like an excellent chance to progress, even if it might need a replay.

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