Archive for March, 2012

Rochdale 3 Saddlers 3 thriller

roger6 @ 9:32 pm Saturday 31 March 2012

A tale of two halves and a sensational finish after a lead had been squandered. Lots to talk about and many of you are on the message board including this from bangsection

Looked to me like we believed our own hype in the second half. It’s great to have a skilful player like Ledesma in the side but the other players have to realise that they are not suddenly playing tiki-taka at the Camp Nou. More than once in the second half we were guilty of overelaborating when we should have put our foot through the ball (Sadler’s mistake for the penalty being the most glaring example).

The ‘camera’ celebration was a nice moment but I prefer that kind of thing when you’re 2-0 up in the 90th minute rather than the 38th. That was Coleman’s half time team talk sorted. For whatever reason we just didn’t turn up in the second half. The midfield were non-existent and we missed Macken terribly – Bowerman is not a ball-retaining target man and Ledesma was much quieter, in part because of an utterly cynical late tackle by their right back which the officials somehow missed. They targeted Westlake mercilessly and he looked well out of his depth. I can see Smith’s dilemma – rushing Taundry back if Beevers is injured would have been risky but one of them must start on Saturday.

I’m finally reconciled with the point – partly because I suddenly remembered that Butler’s goal had won me £50. But let’s hope that’s the last 45 minutes we see like that this season. The substitutions? You’ll need to give me a bit longer on those, I’m afraid.

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Walsall vs Stevenage Borough Preview

Neil @ 12:52 pm Friday 23 March 2012

It’s the opportunity to cash in on the recent improvement in form over the next week as long as we improve that home form. The first of those games comes tomorrow with the visit of high flying Stevenage, lying just one place outside the playoffs. That would nmormally this season be a good omen, considering our home record against teams at the top of the table who come to the Banks’s and try and play football. The trouble is, of course, that Stevenage haven’t been excatly known for playing much football!

As Bangsection summed up the away game:

“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”.

Of course, this may have changed with Westley’s departure to Preston. Let’s hope so, as the more football the opposition try to play, the better we seem to do at home!

Richard Taundry has a chance of being fit for the game. Taundry has missed the last three games having been forced off with a hamstring injury in the 3-2 home triumph over Sheffield United. He has trained this week and will be assessed ahead of the game.

Adam Chambers will miss out again with his heel infection but manager Dean Smith has no new injury or suspension problems to contend with, just the selection dilemmas of, for edxample, whether to risk Ledesma from the start at home.

Stevenage will be without Jordan Slew when they travel.

Slew was sent off for violent conduct moments before half-time as Boro drew 0-0 at home to Colchester on Tuesday night and the on-loan Blackburn striker will begin a three-match suspension.

Gary Smith will choose two from Patrick Agyemang, Craig Reid and Chris Beardsley to spearhead his attack at the Banks’s Stadium on Saturday. Reid and Beardsley were on the bench in midweek. Playmaker Luke Freeman and midfielder Robin Shroot will also be hoping for recalls. Midfielder Jennison Myrie-Williams and on-loan defender Jamaal Lascelles are also options for Smith should he feel the need to make any further changes.

Predictions?

Stevenage’s season has suddenly gone a little pear shaped, with three wins, two defeats and a very unhelpful run of five draws in the last ten games. Normally, that would suggest s draw for this game, but the Saddlers are playing better, they do have much more creativity in the team with Cuvelier and Ledesma and I think we have enough in the locker to win this.

Sheffield Wednesday vs Walsall Report

Neil @ 11:24 am Wednesday 21 March 2012

Bangsection with the words:

I really enjoyed that until the last of the 96 minutes. Alright, so we looked like we might have been in for a hiding when Antonio hit the bar twice in the first half (that bloke in the Co-op was spot on – he was by far their biggest threat) but rather than coming out in the second half and just accepting the inevitable we took the game to Wednesday and looked really dangerous. Stunning run and cross from Cuvelier and a great finish from Macken for the first, but so frustrating to concede almost immediately. Nevertheless, we didn’t let our heads drop and Paterson (who tormented poor old Julian Bennett for most of the second half) scored an absolute screamer to put us back in the lead.

Grof kept us in it with some fantastic saves and it looked for all the world like we’d hold on for the three points. Why Smith persists in making substitutions in injury time I don’t know – now that refs automatically add 30 seconds it just prolongs the game and disrupts the team – even Paterson looked mystified by the decision when Westlake came on for him.

Cuvelier was my man of the match – a tremendous mix of industry and creativity tonight. Mantom and Hurst were quiet and Beevers was the weak link in the back four but it was an excellent team performance all in all. Nicholls up front instead of Ledesma was the right decision in my opinion, he ran himself into the ground and we were too far away to see whether any of the chances he had in the first half were genuine opportunities. Nice to stand next to @Taundz for most of the game – it would appear that he really is one of our own. The heat from his spray on tan kept a few of us warm too. He even joined in with a couple of songs in the second half and, in all seriousness, he looked genuinely distraught when they equalised at the death.

Footnote re. Hillsborough. It’s been a while since I’ve been but I thought the facilities were a disgrace. Terrible view of the pitch from the bottom of the stand and refreshments comprised one kiosk with only one person allowed to sell alcohol. The people in the large queue were rewarded with a giant extractor fan belching out stale chip fat over a wide radius. It was disgusting.

Sheffield Wednesday v Walsall Preview

bangsection @ 4:14 pm Tuesday 20 March 2012

As the Greg Louganis of international football administration, ‘Sir’ Dave Richards, recently reminded the world, football was invented in Sheffield and so successful have the city’s teams been in recent years that they currently sit second and third in Division Three! It’s this kind of footballing heritage that puts teams like Walsall to shame and our players, staff and supporters will travel to the Rome of the North tonight simply happy to be able to visit a ground that used to be on the telly.

Of course, Wednesday fans were also quite excited to visit the Bonks’s back in December, with many of them attempting to get into the home end to exchange Christmas presents. That game ended with Walsall scoring two goals in injury time and some Wednesday fans calling for Gary Megson to be sacked. Sadly they had to wait until a home victory against their arch rivals the Sheffield Steelers for colourful chairman and law-abiding tax payer Milan Mandaric to stab the original Ginger Mourinho in the back (with a knife made in Sheffield, presumably). Mind you, things have been on the up since gargoyle-faced former Dingle-in-Chief Dave Jones pitched up at Hillsborough. The Owls have won their last three games under the ashen-faced Scouse charisma vacuum and will be looking to build on Saturday’s excellent win at resurgent Notts County.

Wednesday have an embarrassment of attacking riches at this level, being able to call on the services of Gary Madine, Ryan Lowe and Chris O’Grady. Apparently, Clinton Morrison also plays for them. However the man to watch according to my spies in the opposition camp (basically the Wednesday fan who works in my local Co-op) is tricky right winger Michail Antonio who joined from Reading in February on an emergency loan until the end of the season (the emergency presumably being that Mandaric thought they might not go up). If Wednesday name an unchanged team then we’ll also get a chance to see ex-Saddler Julian Bennett at left back. Bennett’s move to Nottingham Forest in 2006 famously financed the building of the car park behind the Regency Fryatt Hotel.

The official Wendy site says that Dean Smith won’t be changing his team tonight (and who are we to argue with a website that also refers to our “promotion rivals”) so it’ll be the same XI that were unlucky to lose at Yeovil on Saturday.

Predictions? How often have we feared the worst and been pleasantly surprised this season? Our opponents are in excellent form but, at the risk of putting my foot in it as disastrously as a certain ex-Wednesday chairman, I’ll take us to nick a point.

Yeovil Town vs Walsall Report

Neil @ 1:27 pm Monday 19 March 2012

Worsul with the report:

Frustrating result. We should have got a point against Woeful.

Player Ratings:

Grof – 8 Felt very sorry for him. Both Yeovil’s goals involved strange deflections. Made a great save just before Yeovil’s 2nd. Alas all in vain

Beevers – 6 – Did ok. Doesn’t seem to add much when going forward though and Yeovil always seemed more threatening attacking down their left.

Butler 6 – Typical Butler performance commanding the defence. I think he played a long cross field ball to no-one which led to Yeovil’s first which is why I marked him down.

Lancashire 7 – Did nothing wrong. Looked quite assured on the ball

Sadler 8 – Looked solid and got forward well.

Mantom 7 – Some good long range shots including the goal too.

Cuvelier 8 – My MoM. Always looks capable of creating something 90% of the time. Sadly the other 10% occurred when we needed some magic from him at the end.

Hurst 5 – Largely anonymous. Also, no idea what he got booked for.

Nicholls 6 – Don’t want to be harsh on him, he did ok, but he makes the wrong choice too often. A good example was a cracking shot he had, which was very impressive but there was a Walsall player in acres of space and a simple pass was the right choice.

Macken 6- Disappointing game from Postman Pat. Never looked like scoring.

Ledesma 7 – Encouraging start. Showed some touches of class and really pleased to have him back. Gets pushed off the ball too easily though which is a concern when we need to fight in the last few games.

Subs

Paterson – Didn’t do much wrong.

Peterlin – Brought on for Ledesma and played on the right wing. Seems a strange place to play him. Didn’t really add anything when he came on though.

Bowerman – Not on long enough to do anything.

Ref was pretty rubbish as seems to be par for the course these days. To be fair he was equally rubbish for both sides.

On the plus side it was decent performance again. We certainly look good enough to stay up and looked at least as good as Yeovil who are the ‘form side’ of the division.

I still think we’ll stay up.

Yeovil Town vs Walsall Preview

Neil @ 12:35 pm Friday 16 March 2012

Well, Dean Smith has the luxury of having some real selection dilemmas this week – and it’s a good job, as the Saddlers visit one of the Division’s form sides, in the shape of Yeovil. They were one of those struggling at the bottom a few weeks ago, but have gone on the sort of run clubs tend to dream about and are now in mid table. They are in thirteenth place, but so much has the table closed up, that that means they are just six points ahead of Walsall. Rather like the game at Preston, that means a point at least would be welcome in order to keep them in the mix.

The squad will be strengthened by a sudden injection of real flair. Not only have we got the International class skills of Cuvelier, but we have added the mercurial talents of Emmanuel Ledesma, back from Argentina. If he can produce some displays like that last season when he came on to rip Hartlepool tp pieces as we pulled back from 0 -2 down to win 5 – 2, then his presence will be most welcome.

Dean Smith will have Lancashire available again, after he went off last week suffering from double vision. Jamie Paterson, who also missed that game, should also be fit, but Adam Chambers, back from his injury and having made a sub appearance in the Hartlepool game.

Richard Taundry is the only absentee, although he is making rapid progress.
Smith also is hoping to bring another player in, but that looks unlikely before tomorrow’s game.

As for the opposition, Andy Williams picked up a cut shin, desbribed as “nasty” by Manager Gary Johnson, but he added Yeovil’s top scorer trained on Thursday and would not be a doubt for the weekend.

Johnson is also waiting on a return call from Middlesbrough about extending the loans of Jonathan Franks and Jonathan Grounds until the end of the season.

Predictions?

Yeovil have won six of their last nine at home, while the Saddlers are unbeaten in their last six games. Whatever happens, this one is likely to be close!

Saddlers draw blank

roger6 @ 7:32 pm Monday 12 March 2012

Apologies we are 48 hours late but after Walsall’s 0-0 with Hartlepool on Saturday, reaction has been trickling in on the message board. Correspondent Brackley offers this analysis:

This was anything but a classic encounter and brought back memories of some of the hoof-ball of years gone by of basement division footy.

Lets be fair………Hartlepool came to the Bezza with a game plan to literally kick us off the park and play the long ball for 90 minutes in the hope they could muster a smash and grab raid of all 3 points. For those of us who have weathered the season so far, one thing is for sure with Butler, Lancashire/or Manny at the heart of the defence they aint got no chance…….and so it proved with only one momentary lapse in the 80th minute that saw Grof off his line quick to block with his legs – other than that our resident Hungarian stopper had nowt to do all game. Lancashire took a pounding in the first 15 minutes and seemed to go off with a bit of concussion, with Manny on who sorted their front line out for the rest of the game and took the sponsors MOM…….

Got to say our new arrivals have added some much needed steel to the middle of the park and we at last have some creativity and movement. That said, chances were few and far between at either end and despite our best efforts to raise the tempo we never tested their keeper apart from giving him catching practice with balls into the box that were easy pickings.

The last 10 minutes saw a couple of half chances blocked just inside the box and what looked like a stonewall penalty that the ref dismissed as our lad was left poll-axed by their keeper…….

Unfortunately we struggled to impose our style of play and resorted to playing long-ball tennis…….. on the very rare ocassiion we got the ball on the deck we did look capable of carving out some chances, but they had done their homework and effectively took Cuvelier and our new look midfield out of the game by by-passing them with the long-ball and closing down the middle of the park so that there was little space.

Nil – Nil a fair result – had we imposed our game that worked so well on Tuesday we would have taken all 3 points for sure.

Walsall vs Hartlepool United Preview

Neil @ 12:37 pm Friday 09 March 2012

It’s a visit from our old friends from Hartlepool tomorrow and things look much brighter down at the Banks’s. A run of six games unbeaten means that, as one of the wins was against so-called big boys Sheffield United, that we might have to start worrying about the curse of the Manager of the Month Award arriving. After all, Smithy has been nominated once this season with less justification!

The last few games have produced such a turnaround in fortunes that Hartlepool arrive in town tomorrow in a safe mid table 11th spot, yet a win for the Saddlers would se us just six points behind than, with a game in hand. Last season’s 5 – 2 win against them, after being 0 – 2 down was one of the results that made the season for us, tomorrow has the potential to do the same.

The mighty Saddlers will, however, have to manage without the presence of Richard Taundry, after he limped off on Tuesday. He has been having an excellent run of form since being moved to right back, but we do have either Beevers or Westlake to come in. Beevers also picked up an injury on Tuesday, but is expected to be fit, as is Bowerman, who was suffering from cramp during the game. Paterson did pick up an ankle knock, however, and will need a fitness test. One possible midfield replacement, Chambers, is also still not sure of being fit.

Hartlepool could be without James Poole, Gary Liddle and Luke James. Striker Poole, who has only just returned from long-term injury, was forced off in the midweek defeat at Huddersfield with a thigh knock.
Midfielder Liddle is still struggling with the leg injury that has kept him out of the last four matches and teenage striker James has been nursing a back problem in recent weeks.

Another forward, Adam Boyd, is hoping for a recall to the starting line-up after being named on the substitutes’ bench for the last five matches, while James Brown, who replaced Poole at half-time at Huddersfield, is expected to start.

Skipper Sam Collins, who celebrated his 500th club appearance in midweek, will continue his partnership with Peter Hartley in central defence.

Predictions?

First the bad news. Hartlepool have a more than decent away record of won 7, drawn 5 and lost 6. In fact, they have picked up more points away than at home! However, they have lost three and won just one of their last four away and one of those defeats was a right tonking at struggling Wycombe. With a squad that should be brimming with confidence after the week they’ve had, I’ll take us to shade this one.

Walsall vs Sheffield United Report

Neil @ 9:53 am Wednesday 07 March 2012

Latviancheese with the description!

We were superb today, we now look like a good side that is beyond a relegation scrap. I think we might just pull away now. We played well, with tempo, we kept out shape and battled for every ball. We were also helped by Sheff UTD having no centre halves on the pitch. :mrgreen:

We deserved a win, we played the best football by a mile. Both their goals came from lapses of concentration for me.

Grof – No chances with the goals but stood up well, didnt have many saves to make but when he did he looked comfortable. Our new number one.
Taundry – Solid until injured, was playing well, was actually worried when he went off, turns out i neednt be.
Butler – Arms in the air for the second goal, otherwise, a brick wall.
Lancashire – the same.
Sadler – Just a quality player.

Hurst – Best game ive seen him have in a red shirt. Another player comfortable on the ball.
Mantom – Solid game, plays the right way. He also passed to me in the crowd at the end. Great goal.
Cuvelier – Ran his socks off, a bundle of energy who also plays the right way and is comfy on the ball.

Paterson – Quiet game, runs into blind alleys. Went off injured.
Macken – MOTM by a mile, holds the ball up, knows what to do with it. Used those old legs to charge down and win the ball and cooly slot past Simonsen. Class. Anyone who cant see what this bloke brings to the team, should give up watching football, and stick to knitting.
Bowerman – Fed off scraps in the first half, but his “Natural finishing” ability let him down as he skied one that looked so easy. Looks a grafter and a decent player. works hard too.

Subs
Beevers – Had a solid game, only got skinned once or twice.
Nicholls – Great header, good game. Someone booed him when he came on. mister sensitive.
Grigg- Had to chase and harry and for once looked like he can play football. Hopefully he will pick up some form now.

Dean Smith – His team looked organised, motivated, and we played some good stuff. Smith in. :lol:

What a difference a midfield makes!

Walsall 3-2 Sheffield United: Believe now?

Exile @ 5:03 am Wednesday 07 March 2012

Firstly, our apologies for the rather static front page recently, a combination of malaise, business and lack of access to a proper keyboard instead of a mobile device. nothing to do with the rumour that we only report the bad news!

So, onto the action. Since we last reported on a match, slagging off the club after the shoddy Oldham defeat, we’re unbeaten, having stacked up a five game run including vital away draws at Preston and Leyton, an away win at S****horpe and stunning home victories against Wycombe, and most recently, and deliciously, Sheffield United.

I take back my last comments about the next win coming in preseason 2013. The next win actually came from the heart, and now it looks like the run of appallingly average form has turned to a good one.

We had a perplexing run of mediocrity between October 15 and valentine’s day,winning only one game. Since then, we’ve played five, won three and drawn two! Well done the lads. No match report, running out of time to cut and paste, but congratulations to the team, the loanees and the manager for turning this around. Keep it up!

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