"Inside the Halle
… catching little nimble shrimps"
Following the doom-and-gloom unanimously expressed after losing to Accrington Stanley, and salt being rubbed into the wound by the opinion that most of the Walsall players evidently couldn’t be bothered to up their game, the temptation to not bother doing a match preview was very real. In more than 60 years of supporting the Saddlers it’s accepted that technical ability and finesse will never be of the highest quality, but when that is combined with a perceived lack of effort … well, some of the love for the team goes down the plug-hole.
Martin O’Connor now has just 4 games left in this train-wreck of a season to try and salvage our League One status, and as each game has gone by we have moved from "A win would be a good result" through “We really have to win this one” and “We must win” to the current status of “If we lose this one there’s really no hope left”.
Having said that, we welcome the Shrimpers, whose position virtually mirrors our own - they are one place and one point ahead of us, but they do have a superior goal difference (Question - who on earth doesn’t?). From the helpful posts of Roots2Roots it would seem that their problems are very similar to ours - the performances have fallen far short of the paper potential. There are a couple of familiar faces in the Shrimpers’ squad - captain Sam Mantom, and Jason Demetriou. It is perhaps indicative of Southend’s form last season that their “Player of the Year” was Mark Oxley (goalkeeper). Southend United’s current League One form:-
Mar 12 Scunthorpe United (A) Lost 4-1
Mar 16 AFC Wimbledon (H) Lost 0-1
Mar 23 Peterborough United (A) Lost 2-0
Mar 30 Shrewsbury Town (H) Lost 0-2
Apr 6 Fleetwood Town (A) Drew 2-2
Apr 13 Wycombe Wanderers (H) Lost 0-2
Martin O’Connor’s comments following the Accrington Stanley surrender were revealing as well as scathing, pulling no punches in describing it as “A non-performance” (etc.) - it will be interesting to see the nature and depth of any changes he will make for this game, which qualifies as a Formula One 6-pointer. What will probably be apparent from this game is the quality of his motivational skills - there is an undoubted need for players to wear the shirt with the kind of pride that will see them run through brick walls, rather than shying away from damp paper bags. Just think of Graeme Forbes, Tony Barras, even Zigor Aranalde.…
Prediction? With the fat lady beginning to warble, it’s terribly difficult to forecast a Walsall win with any degree of realism, but in the spirit of “Never say die” how about a scrappy 1-0 home result, with another Nickly Devlin goal (assuming he’s playing, that is).