Date: 19th February 2019 at 10:33am
Written by:

Walsall fan Jack Johnson contacted us this week and gave us his view on Saturday’s game and what he believes needs to happen for the Saddlers to turn this sorry season around.

Coventry away another ‘BIG GAME’ for the Saddlers, at this point every game is a big for us, as we are in complete and utter free fall.

Living in Canada and being a Saddler originally from Rushall for over 15 years is tough, not being able to see the games live. Ifollow has been my saving grace because of this, but still because of work and the time difference (7 hours behind), I don’t get chance to see many games for a full 90 minutes. Still I sat there in the snowy mountain town of Banff, sipping a beer at 8am with the game on, which still takes a bit of getting used to.

So I had been going by the fan sites, Facebook comments and even Express and Star to get a view of how bad we had been playing to correspond with the woeful run we are on. Was it as bad as they say, well these were my thoughts, as I finally had time to watch the Saddlers for a full 90 minutes .

I paid about nine Canadian Dollars for an IFollow match pass, which is surprisingly pretty good, around about five pounds. Seems Bonser has not got his say in the pricing for this or else I am sure I would be looking at more for it!

The first half was a very disappointing display, we were getting the ball, but as soon as it got to the midfield and Coventry’s half , we just had no ideas what to do with the ball. Cooky was trying his best to get onto the scraps but I see the hoof and hope of old is still in Walsall’s system. Coventry seemed to be more powerful in attack and looked more threatening. Then of course it came, the first goal, and it just had to be Bakayoko ( who I never really rated when he was with us). Easiest headed chance you could get, unmarked near post, nothing Roberts could do.

One nil down , I would of thought Deano would of made a tactical change or showed some sort of spirit from the dugout , but every time the camera panned to him , he honestly looked lost. Then just 7 minutes later a terrible mistake which lead to a second Coventry goal from honestly nothing. I believe Fitzwater just seemed to trip over his own feet , although he appealed to the referee as if he had been fouled. But still if he had been fouled and the ref is not giving it , get up lad and chase back to defend , stop moaning on the floor. Then it was easy for Hiwula, the defence just let him run at them , no one closing him down as he simply slotted the ball between the defenders into the right of the bottom corner , honestly a great finish leading from a stupid mistake, another former player scoring , of course!

After halftime still no changes or any ideas. Pretty much all Coventry, even when we got the ball Cooky was just a headless chicken trying to chase the ball, getting no help from his midfield whatsoever. Touches from players were all over the place. Oteh offered nothing and was an invisible man for the most the game. I want to talk more about the 2nd half, but honestly, we offered nothing of note. Coventry had an open goal which was somehow skyed over from a few yards out.

Then the inevitable 3rd goal came, and this was the most Sunday league defending I had ever seen, two Walsall players decided to head the ball at the same time! Knocking each other to the floor and then Coventry were on the attack with 4 players pushing forward, if we had not conceded the penalty from it, I am pretty sure Coventry would of scored anyway.

Their striker simply feinted a touch and was taken down. Roberts was very unlucky on the penalty as I think, from my angle of viewing, he did get a slight touch but it was right in the corner.

Over the next 20 minutes the camera kept panning to Deano , who honestly looked completely out of it , just shell shocked. I have never seen someone look like that on the sideline since the days of Merson. Not moving just staring into the distant , trying to probably remember the good old days and maybe how moving from Wrexham so early was a mistake.

This was a shock to see , I know a lot of fans had been calling for his head but I didn’t know he was this lost. Only one sub was made which I didn’t understand, at least show some intent and let the fans go home seeing a few chances. It was as if he knew the game was over at half time, the only sub he made was to let the young Corey Taylor have a run out for Oteh. Something you do maybe in the last few minutes of a game, then again was there anyone on the bench that could make a difference , where was Ferrier, still disrupted after we tried to sell him?

Keates was just counting down the clock, no motivation, no ideas, no passion. A sad sight to see when a 15 year old me was used to watching him banging goals in from 30 yards out and seeing ‘that goal’ against Notts County to lift the league 2 title on the final day.

A sad sight indeed.

Overall I regretted paying 5 quid , and I feel sorry for the fans that probably splashed probably about 50 quid with tickets and transport, as well as the high cost of the Ricoh beers.

A terrible performance from a midfield with no ideas and a defense that might be one of the worst I have ever seen. A manager lost and out of his depth. Clueless is how I would describe the whole 90 minutes. I felt like we were playing in a FA cup tie against a team from a higher division, not a midtable side in our league, we made an average team look like title contenders.

Apart from Cook and Roberts, the whole squad looked a shambles. Particular Edwards who seemed lost in Midfield. The midfield badly looks like it needs Dobson back ! Scott laird was abysmal , error prone , could not get the ball to stick to his feet and instead of crossing the ball would often just try and take players on , and when he lost the

ball seemed to show no care what so ever. We have a guy like Andy Cook in the box , will you PLEASE just put the ball into the box! Jarvis who I was really looking forward to seeing play and seemed like a coup deal when we got him, just could not put a good cross in for the life of him.

I don’t see a clear solution , and why is Ferrier not at least on the bench, even if his performance of late have been disappointing, , he has pace, strength and is a good player to bring on for the last 20 minutes. Clearly there is still problems between him and Keates after we tried to sell him in January, just let him do as he said and ‘prove himself’. 4-4-2 clearly is not working either. If, like the fans asked for, Keates was given the boot, will a new man have time to stop the decline?

But we move on with fellow relegation strugglers Bradford up next, an even bigger game than Wimbledon, a true six pointer. Lose here and I think we should get ready for the short but unwanted trip to Solihull next season.


We at Vital Walsall wish to thank Jack for his in-depth report on Saturdays game and we encourage any Saddlers fan far and wide to send us their views to use on site.