Torquay 1-0 Walsall: More bad luck

Exile @ 7:54 pm Sunday 28 November 2010

There’s a saying, often attributed to Samuel Goldwyn: “The harder you work, the luckier you get”. If that’s the case Chris Hutchings must be one of life’s biggest layabouts, a workshy bludger, as his Walsall teams are inevitably unlucky. The latest side to give Walsall the bum’s rush were Torquay, dumping us out of the FA Cup unceremoniously as Walsall slipped to yet another defeat.

Out of the cup at Torquay - what next?
  • Sack Hutchings now for goodness sake (54%, 261 Votes)
  • I don't care, I've given up (40%, 195 Votes)
  • Let's concentrate on the league! (6%, 28 Votes)

Total Voters: 484

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Torbay Saddler was at the game and had this to say:
“I only had to travel 3 miles and spend £12 to watch that load of tripe. My heart went out to the 200 or so brave souls who travelled down here and had to suffer that.
Nothing changes then.

Someone asked how Grigg played, to me he seemed the only one with any idea what to do with the football, felt sorry for the lad he got no service and eventually faded out of the game like the rest of them.

As for Dickensen, I’ve seen some No.9′s playing for Walsall over the years…. eg Tony Richards, George Kirby , but I wouldn’t pick Dickensen to play for Walsall Phoenix.
Torquay weren’t much better than us but without Jimmy Walker, I’m afraid it would have been 4 or 5….. and it definitely wasn’t a penalty. I think the referee was bored and thought the game might liven up if someone scored.

No passion, no idea and no motivation….. but wait a minute isn’t that the responsability of the manager.

Exeter and Plymouth next year ….. do I really need to waste time and money ( I may become a stayaway)”

That’s that for cup interest this season, so we can now concentrate on the league, and boy does that need concentrating on. Relegation in front of ever-dwindling crowds would appear to be a certainty, as long as Chris “Jonah” Hutchings remains manager.


Walsall vs Carlisle preview: Play well and lose?

Exile @ 1:56 am Saturday 20 November 2010

With regular Neil being missing more than Byfield, it’s another Metfanwy preview this weekend. Thanks, Bangor!

Tuesday nights performance against non-league outfit Fleetwood Town left a lot to be desired, with many Walsall supporters still unhappy with the way the team is playing. An unconvincing 2-0 win was played out in front of a small crowd, with two moments of class from Reuben Reid the difference.

So we head into tomorrow’s Coca Cola League One game against a confident Carlisle United side, who are currently on a 5 game unbeaten run in all competitions. Last weekend saw the Cumbrians run out 3-2 winners over early season promotion favourites Southampton: no mean feat.

Carlisle come into the game with a close to full strength outfit. Highly rated striker Gary Madine went off in the victory over Southampton with a slight knock, but makes the squad for Saturday’s game. The only real selection issue for Carlisle will be whether James Chester will continue in the left back role.

The impressive part about Carlisle’s recent form is that the extremely experienced midfield duo of Graham Kavanagh (our old friend) and Paul Thriwell have been missing due to injury. Quality left-back Sean McDaid (former Doncaster Rovers) is out, as well as striker Richard Offiong. Players to look out for include deadly striker Francois Zoko and creative midfielder Matty Robson, who will cause problems.

What about us? Darren Byfield has been set back in his comeback from injury, and will be out for a further month. Clayton MacDonald, Jon Macken and Martin Devaney have been struggling with injuries, and may make the game. One player absent from the midweek win over Fleetwood was Ryan McGivern due to first team duty for North Ireland and he will still be unavailable due to suspension. William Grigg also returns from International duty, but he never plays. Andy Butler should make his Bescot bow, after missing the FA cup tie due to his ineligibility.

Carlisle should therefore line up: Collin, Simek, Murphy, Michalik, Chester, Taiwo, Berrett, Marshall, Zoko, Madine, Grella. It’s a bit trickier to predict how we might play, it is very much dependent who is available after injury. The return of Martin Devaney may push us back into a 442 formation, after the midweek 433.

Hutching’s bemusing quote of the week comes from the E and S. According to Oliver Lancashire: ‘The manager has been saying that we had been playing well and losing’. We haven’t been playing well..and we have been losing. Also, Oliver may have been tired after training for he also came out with this intriguing quote: ‘Carlisle are a similar team to us, with a similar budget I expect, and it’s good to see a team like that doing well. Similar budget? Really?

The money spent on Kevan Hurst and the signing of very good league one players such as Sean McDaid, Paul Thirlwell, Graham Kavanagh and Franky Simek show the Carlisle board have invested in their side with good results. Carlisle are currently 2 points from the automatic promotion places and the their owners should be congratulated. Let’s hope our owner and board of directors can show similar investment and deliver decent football to a public that has been humiliated by performances this season.

Prediction? We have the lowest scoring record in the division – just 15 goals – against the 3rd best defence in the league. The stats suggest we should lose again, but I am going for a draw. My reasons? It surely can’t get any worse.

FA Cup – Fleetwood replay ticket info

Exile @ 8:24 pm Tuesday 09 November 2010

Tickets on sale for next Tuesday’s replay at the Banks’s stadium. No cash turnstile for home fans.

Adults £12
Kids and concessions £6
Hospitality £35 to go the whole hog
booking / admin fees may apply

Upper & middle F2G stand closed, away fans in G H & I of the Bite Size stand.

Season ticket holders affected by stand changes can relocate where they so desire (within reason!) as long as they tell the club before gameday.

Fleetwood replay - are you going?
  • I'm not going (67%, 171 Votes)
  • I was going to go anyway (22%, 57 Votes)
  • The cheap tickets have tempted me! (11%, 28 Votes)

Total Voters: 256

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Youth Team Success
On another cup-related note – huge congratulations to the Youth Team, who are now in the semi-finals of the Midland Youth Cup after beating Port Vale away, 3-2. A hat-trick from Connor Deards sealed the win. Well done Dean Smith and his young charges.

Club Determined To Bury Head In Sand

Exile @ 9:27 pm Monday 04 October 2010

UTS today thanks the Walsall Chief Executive, Stefan Gamble, for assuring fans that the club is determined to reinforce the recent run of form by throwing some money at the playing side to strengthen an adequate team while not addressing why the season is so off track.

UTS is obviously disappointed with the start to the season, much more so than Chris and the trapdoor team. UTS hopes sincerely that things are being done behind the scenes to turn things round, and that the funds that are available are for one new face to replace two old ones before Saturday’s fixture.

UTS remains patient, and appreciates the thanks of the club for this, but would prefer to see results on the pitch.

Walsall 0-1 Yeovil: Utter Rubbish

Exile @ 9:17 pm Sunday 03 October 2010

Walsall went down to Yeovil on Saturday.

The Yeovil result. We were:
  • rubbish (93%, 274 Votes)
  • unlucky, punished by a slight mistake (7%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 296

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UTS regular sadders was at the game, with less then 3000 other fans. He had the following to say about our memorable performance:

Worst performance i’ve ever seen as a Walsall fan. Not one positive. Clueless, pathetic, dismal, dreadful, awful, passionless. DIRE! I blame the players as much as i do Hutchings and i blame Bonser more than any of them. Richards, Brain and Macken were decent. Smith is a poor mans Ian Roper on this seasons displays and Nicholls either needs to be played upfront or given a confidence injection, terrible. Reid was anonymous and my gosh, anyone that moaned at Rhys Weston for his constant hoofing, take a look at the defensive displays of Lescott, cant defend never mind hoof!

Pathetic. Abject.

We’re going down

A Glovers fan had this to say: pity

Hutchings must face up to some hard facts. He’s not achieving anything like respectability, he’s not winning any fans over, and he’s not getting the results on the pitch.

Bonser must face up to some hard facts. Crowds are going backwards, the policy of hiring cheap isn’t working, and the PR is all coming from the fans, who are giving up in droves.

It’s difficult to think of anything to add to that, other than to say that the slow death of a beautiful friend is a terrible thing to experience first hand, and observing Walsall’s progress this season is close to that. Emotive? Yes. Over the top? No. This is something of concern to all Walsall fans, whether they spend every game watching the Saddlers or turn up once every few years.

Bottom of the league after what many considered a fixture we had every chance of winning. Bottom of the table after winning only once at home in the league. Propping up the rest after taking just one point from the last 24. This is beyond relegation form, it’s become an embarrassment. Where’s the incentive for a fan to tell his or her mates to come along when they know what’s in store? Where’s the relish in telling a stayaway they missed a treat when the treat is a turd with a smear of rancid icing on top?

What’s worst for me is that the club appear not to see this. Take this quote from Hutchings:

To say it was frustrating would be an understatement. Things are not going our way at the moment and we are being punished for every slight mistake

Chris, you’re right – frustrating is an understatement. I’d say horrifying, terrifying, infuriating, abject and utterly inept before even thinking of saying ‘frustrating’. Chris, you’re right – things aren’t going our way at the moment, and we’re being punished for every slight mistake, but to use a hackneyed old phrase; Chris, you make your own luck. Looks to me like the ‘slight mistake’ that’s resulting in us losing five games for every one we’ve won so far this season is the one Bonser makes every Monday by not sacking you.

Leyton Orient 0-0 Walsall: Groundhog Day

Exile @ 3:03 am Wednesday 29 September 2010

After close on 20 games without a clean sheet and 6 consecutive defeats, you’d think that a 0-0 draw away from home would steady the nerves, stop the rot, lead toward a bright future, etc. etc., wouldn’t you? I suggest the answer is no. There’s still a lot to do and blagging 0-0 against a team considered as a relegation candidate on the same night Carlisle put 4 unanswered goals past the side that beat us on Saturday rams it home.

0-0 at Leyton is...
  • a fluke result on the road to relegation (74%, 177 Votes)
  • a welcome turning point (26%, 62 Votes)

Total Voters: 239

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UTS regular saddlersam was at the game, and sums it up by phone on the way home, such is his dedication. Paragraphs and spacing are by the editor:

Not a great performance at all but not quite as bad as some will make out.

We just couldn’t get the ball on the deck at all, choosing to (as usual) smash it down the line to anyone daft enough to chase it. We seemed fairly up for it to start with but Orient were able to pass it round us far too comfortably at times, too much time and space on the ball. Same problems, different game.

Brain was a lot better than he has been. Got lucky with his ‘kick ‘n’ slip’ but made a terrific finger tip save over the bar midway through the second half.

Lescott gave far too much space away and McGivern’s crossing still hasn’t improved although some of his overlapping was better tonight.

Lancashire was fairly solid but there’s no communication between himself and Smith. That’s the inexperience showing for me.

Nicholls was poor on the right. He may not be a winger but he just doesn’t do anything to grab his chance. He has pace he doesn’t use and no strength whatsoever.

Richards was having to clean up an awful lot of wayward balls and Gray did some fantastic defensive work during the second half.

Davis would certainly put his foot in but never win that second ball.

Upfront I can definitely understand Reid and Macken’s frustrations, no service from the start, nothing was sticking and the latter showed it by clattering their defender early on. Was very late indeed.

On a positive note, we seemed to come alive slightly once Grigg came on and he seemed to unnerve the Orient defence in the closing stages.1 shot on target though is very poor but i’ll take the point after our recent run of poor form.

We made as much noise in the away end as we could really and regardless of the result both Hutchings and Mart have to go. I’d still feel that way had we nicked it. Apologies if this is a ramble, i’ve typed it up on my phone.

It would appear that the current injuries are causing problems as senior players remain out of the side. What might also be causing problems is the manager’s unwillingness to change what has been a losing team. Grigg, for example, as has been pointed out in the match thread here has played more for his country than his club, and this continues a longstanding Walsall tradition of being too scared to play the kids, even when it is patently obvious that the first choice team isn’t cutting the mustard. Is this poor play or poor management?

The big question remains – does a point away at Leyton constitute the turning point in what has been the worst start to a season in Walsall’s modern history or is it just a pause in a long litany of poor football? The disappointment in Leyton demonstrated here would suggest the latter.

Walsall 0-1 Yeovil

Exile @ 10:42 pm Tuesday 23 February 2010

A performance barely worthy of the name ‘football’ saw Walsall slump to a dismal 0-1 defeat at home to previously lowly Yeovil. The game never got going for the Saddlers, or the pitiful 2,929 hardy souls who turned out tonight.

The club official website’s headline “Snow joke as Saddlers slip” was an amusing diversion for a moment, until one realises the importance of this atrocious result. While the season was never going anywhere even before the match, it appears that the players and management have no concept of playing for pride, no concept of entertainment, no concept of tactics and no concept of winning a game at home.

This clueless approach leads one to wonder at the victories we have achieved in this campaign – have we actually put any tactical plan into action, or are these just the result of blind chance in the league of averageness?

One certain fact: Crowds of under 3,000 will become the norm down Bescot Crescent if things do not change. That prospect should fill the fans, the club and the owner with dread.

wednesburysaddler summed up the game with this masterful post on the match thread:

gutless spineless rubbish crud waste of time bunch of puddings with the worst tactician of a manager ive ever seen

My “Proud To Be A Saddler” coffee mug will remain at the back of the cupboard until such time as I feel I agree with the sentiment it expresses. I’m ashamed.

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