Date: 21st October 2007 at 11:10am
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Southend ran out easy winner at the Banks’ Stadium and their players may not have an easier three points on the road all season. The Saddlers came into match with two changes, Troy Denney came in for the injured Dwayne Matiis and David McDermott came in for the surprisingly absent Ismael Demontagnac. Southend came into the match with proflific overweight Leon Clarke up front.

Walsall though coming off the back off a four match unbeaten run, showed no confidence and were limited in their ideas in the final third. Southend were more direct, always willing to get the ball behind the Walsall back four and chase down lost causes.

Walsall had the lion’s sahre of possession but this consisted off them playing neat short passes between the back four. They were going nowhere and there was no urgnecy shown in getting there. It seemed to most Walsall fans that soon or later one of the defenders would get caught in possession and be punished. Sonko was quite on the right wing and the stage had clearly gotten to McDermott on the left as he was determined to trap the ball and get rid off it as soon as possible instead of taking the chance to show off his silky skills. I can’t even recall the Saddlers having a chance though Keeper Collis floundered with a bouncing ball and should have been punished. So an awful half with nothing for the Saddlers fans to cheer, the home faithful were wishing to get into half time with the deadlock not broke. But that was not to be, five minutes before the break, on a routine corner, Captain Mooney raced back into his own area, made sure everybody had their marker and the defence was solid. Only for Steven Hammell’s corner to go flying across the box, Clayton Ince to stand rooted instead of coming to catch or punch and Peter Clarke just managing to get his head to the ball, one nil to the Blues. Mooney was short, vocal and concise on his views of Ince’s failure to take action and Ince looked like he needed a hug.

Walsall started the second half in a higher gear and it actually looked like being a good game. Wrack came on for McDermott. The Saddlers forced a couple of corners before all their work went to waste, a weak pass at the back was intercepted by Bailey who freed former Spurs player Mark Gower. The winger raced in on goal but scuffed his shot and Ince should have saved/caught the ball unfortunately the big man parried the weak shot and more unfortunately it dropped into the path of former Dingle Leon Clarke, two nil to the visitors.

The Saddlers did try and make a fist of it, but their lack of creativity, lack of energy in midfield and United’s time wasting abilities meant it was always going to be unlikely. A real bad day at the office, Dobson the unsung hero just didn’t turn up in midfield, without him Bradley was lost and Troy Denney is just not a midfielder, god bless him. Mooney walked off with the man-of-the match and deserved the accolade because he never stopped trying. He showed increasing frustration at the fact that the midfield who had supported him so much against Huddersfield were at times ten yards behind him, he never stood a chance. It was surprising to see McDermott practically ‘bottle it’ but he’s still a good player and young players on their upgrade to the first team either play without fear or their nerves get to them. Ince will consider himself to be lucky to retain his place for the visit to Bournemouth as he was a fault for both goals and the impressive form of Bossu in the wings.

Richard Money later went onto lambast the fans, who had paid their well earned money to watch this car wreck of a performance. Money reinstated that Southend would most likely be in the Championship next season, funny that only three go up but so far Money has said Carlisle, Tranmere, Swansea and probably later in the season Forest and Leeds will be in the Championship next term. Statements like this pre match undermine his own team and give them a prepared excuse, I’m not saying Southend aren’t a good side, but if we’d have played like we did against Hudderfield we would have won this match, instead the Shrimps didn’t break sweat in victory.

Money claimed a supporter had asked him to resign after the second goal, well he has a right to an opinion and Mr. Money has the right to ignore said supported and grow a thicker skin. Every Manager from Alex Ferguson to John Coleman have to put up with stick, nobody’s perfect in the eyes of a supporter, that’s why Managers get paid so well and that salary comes from ticket revenue from supporters. A painfill cycle, that means you can’t slag off the fans because you can’t take criticism, however out a hand it is. I myself think you’re a fine Manager Richard Money and doing a sterling job for Mr. Bonser and the remember the oblivion the club were in when you took over.

But if fans are cricitized for lack of atmosphere (what was there to cheer?) and for our heightened ambitions (most fans still think we’re a Championship club) they’re not going to come back. Already on many of the Walsall message boards this has already been suggested by many a Saddler supporter. I think Mr. Money’s going to have to dip into the loan market for a midfielder of the calibre of Dwayne Mattis, we desperately missed his energy and attacking minded midfield play. But if as stated by Mr. Money that the players now enjoy playing away from home than at the Banks’ we’ll be expecting three points from the visit to a poor Bournemouth side instead of the debacle of a performance put in during the Johnstone Paint trophy.