WALSALL 5-0 PETERBOROUGH
After a bad result at Grimsby on Saturday, and the tragic news of the death of ex-Walsall defender Matt Gadsby, a thumping win would have been thought to be the perfect tonic. That`s what happened when Walsall entertained a very ordinary Peterborough outfit. And after a moving one minutes silence for Matt Gadsby, the game got under way. There could not have been one of the 4,070 people that would have predicted the outcome that was a 5-0 thrashing, along with three red cards. Read on, this gets interesting.
Two players were in and out for the Saddlers, as Craig Pead failed to appear in the 16-man squad and was replaced by Chris Westwood, while Carlos Fangueiro found himself on the bench, with Danny Fox taking his place. A good solid start from the Saddlers was needed, and with the ‘Posh` controlling possession in the early stages, it was important that the poor defending from the weekend stayed in Cleethorpes. And it did. The first real opportunity of the match fell to Danny Fox, whose left-footed strike from 30 yards screamed past ‘Posh` goalkeeper Mark Tyler. 1-0 and a good solid start. Then, straight from the re-start, Peterborough threatened through Trevor Benjamin, who was on the end of a clever pass from his strike partner Lloyd Opara, but only for his shot to be saved comfortably by Saddlers keeper Clayton Ince. However, ‘Posh` had the ball in the net through Opara on nine minutes, after a shot from Benjamin was parried by Clayton Ince, only for the lineman`s flag to be raised for offside against the striker. The next chance was created by superb play down the Saddlers left from Kris Taylor and Danny Fox, which resulted in Fox running into space and crossing, only for keeper Mark Tyler to parry into the path of skipper Michael Dobson, who placed the ball into the net from 10 yards for 2-0. Just 16 minutes had gone by this point, not a bad start. It got even better just ten minutes later, as Fox played a wonderful and exquisite ball to Butler inside of the area, who pulled it back to Dobson to finish for his brace, and to make it 3-0 within half-an-hour of play. Peterborough had something to say about that though. In a rare attack, ‘Posh` winger Adam Newton shot from 30 yards out, only for Clayton Ince to be equal to it. Simple. It was the story of the half for ‘Posh,` who had been restricted to long range efforts, due to the solid ‘John Terryesque` defensive backline of Anthony Gerrard and Ian Roper.
In the second half, it was more of the same. Walsall continued to dominate (I say this with no bias, it was that one-sided), who began to threaten on a regular basis through full back Kris Taylor, whose cross-come-shot after 47 minutes flashed wide of the keeper`s left-hand post. The first real chance of the half fell to Martin Butler, whose turn and right footed shot from 30 yards caused keeper Mark Tyler to make a smart save. Then, on 57 minutes came the talking point of the whole match, Anthony Gerrard`s red card. Gerrard appeared to go into a 50-50 challenge with Trevor Benjamin, only his foot was a little too high and managed to catch Benjamin on his head. Referee Mr Singh decided a red card was the warranted punishment for what seemed to be accidental challenge at the time. So, with ten men, a tough task made harder? Nope. This only inspired two more goals from the rampant reds. The scoreline became 3-0 on 68 minutes, when good work from Keates on the left-hand side found Butler, who played a pass into the path of the on running Mark Wright, which resulted in a return cross for Butler to head home from 6 yards out. With the respectful crowd chanting ‘there`s only one Matt Gadsby,` Walsall soon made it 5-0 in his honour due to an accurate 30 yard pass from Danny Fox, who put Butler through one-on-one with keeper Mark Tyler, only for him to make it six for the season with a low left foot shot from 10 yards out. The only other incidents of the half included a spat between Peterborough midfielder Paul Cardon and the Saddlers veteran player/coach Mark Kinsella, which resulted in a second yellow card for Cardon. Then, Guy Branston was also given his marching orders, after he had said something to the linesman; resulting in a second yellow card. And finally, after a Keates had missed everybody within the 6 yard area, Tony Bedeau, on his debut, put in a crisp cross, only for Mark Wright`s header to hit the bar. What an end to a glorious match, which had seen a good refereeing performance from Mr Singh believe it or not.
STAR MAN: DANNY FOX -was impressive throughout and grabbed two assists, not to mention a 30 yarder (goal of the season). Was lively and always a threat, even at left back.
WALSALL 5-0 PETERBOROUGH