In a game which will most likely be viewed very differently depending on where your loyalities lie. Walsall collected all three points.
Darlinton no doubt will look to the large amount of ball they had and a couple of clear cut chancs in the second half, when Walsall sat back and tried to close the game out. Walsall will be saying they could and should have scored more than the singlr Martin Butler goal just before half time.
The first suprise was the line up. The team Dickie Dosh put out would have been considered second rate at the begining of the month, Ince in goal, a centre half(Westwood) at full back, recent left back Kris Taylor dropped for Daniel Fox, Roper and Gerrard remained at centre half as Alan Picken was still not fit enough to be part of the sixteen. Midfield, right back Craig Pead reverted back to midfield along side Keates still no Micheal Dobson. wide was Carlos Fanguerio and Mark Wright, with Martin Butler up front with James Constable despite his recent injury with regular strike partner Hector Sam dropping to the bench.
Lucky that Darlington seemed as confused as some of the home fans and the game started evenly with ex saddler Julian Joachim having the first shot, which Ince pushed away. Then Darlo Keeper handled outside the area as Martin Butler went through, the darlington bench feared the worse as the reserve keeper started warming up to crys of OFF OFF OFF, the ref however only produced a yellow card, walsall wasted the free kick.
Quakers Keeeper Sam Russell made amends with a class save, from his own player who blocked a pull back just as Martin Butler was about to pull the trigger. James Constable managed to round the keeper with another chance but a weak shot found the recovering defender on the line, a bit more concentration would have brought the first goal. We all thought it was going to happen when Mark Wright chested down a cross to fire towards goal, but again it was cleared on the line. Just as it looked like HT was going to be 0-0 a Dean Keates free kick on the right was flicked on by Carlos Fanguerio, and an on rushing Martin Butler finished at the far post from all of two yards.
Second half started with Kris Taylor coming on for James Constable, with Daniel Fox moving further forward as Kris went to full back and Carlos joining Butler up front, but slightly deep to stop the tall Ngoma getting time on the ball. We were sitting fairly deep and this gave Darlo the opportunity to press and create some pressure without any clear cut chances. Walsall wasted those that came there way, Whilst darlington still pressed and some poor finishing and some determined defending kept them at bay. They did almost have the ball in the net but despite handling the ball towards goal when it looked easier to score they only found Ince standing tall to claim the ball on the way to his fifth clean sheet of the season.
In the closing minutes Roper was booked for a clumsy challenge, and Scott Dann came on to run the clock down.
Full time 1-0 to Walsall who move up to second behind 100% team Swindon
Beaten once, only for Kris Taylor to block on the line dealt with everything else well.
Every poor pass was met with a wave of anger, every good header was missed by the Bescot faithful. He defended well in general although had problems with a pacey winger, his distrubution however let him down time and time again.
Started off at full back end up in midfield tackled and competed well with out shining.
He’s head was the usual ball magnet and defended well, Barry Conlon was a handful and went down easy under the slightest of challenges.
Comfortable, he was hardly noticiable which is praise indeed. A number of times last season he made great tackles to cover mistakes or a mistake would cost a goal, today no mistakes great defending
Still not 100% and went off early, but inbetween used the ball well and showed signs he could be a handful for league two defences.
Captain in the absence of skipper Michael Dobson, 100% player as usual
Star Man looks to be enjoying his football again
Follows up his poor show at Lincoln with his best performance for a while.
Given the chance to claim the shirt in his first league start of the season, worked hard failed to take the chance and went off at half time.
Not as good as earlier games, I wonder if he was still feeling his back injury but his running and experience and of course the goal made him a star performer.
Despite a couple of errors generally recorded well and was sound in defence. Goal line clearence kept the points safe.
Played off the lone striker so wasn’t quite as effective linking with Butler but did the job asked of him.
Not sure he actually touched the ball pity his first touch was pretty good at Plymouth
Dickie will be happy with the points against a good Darlington side, the performance could have been better if we had taken some of those early chances things might have been better in the second half.
However six league and cup games five wins, one draw five clean sheets. Only a dismal first half at Lincoln spoiling a 100% start, so we must not grumble.
David Hodgson has spent the money and got the players. They have now lost there last three league games. The fans and board will be expecting a return in ther investment sooner rather than later.
Sat 2nd Sept Barnet away
Sat 9th Sept Grimsby away
after these games we will be in more of a position to judge our start.
A home draw
top flight football comes to Bescot in the week starting the 18th Sept