The Saddlers gained our first win on the road since November as we comfortably defeated Southend United.
The adverse weather that has hit the UK over the past week caused twenty six Football League fixtures to be postponed, however Southend had other ideas and really didnt think of the away supporters that would have to make the long journey south….oh but it was worth it.
Erhun Oztumer (who has been criticised by some lately) grabbed a second half hat-trick and pushed the Saddlers up four places into 13th – one win doesnt make a season but 13th feels alot more comfortable than the 17th place we found ourselves in before the game.
Southend started the game much brighter with Harrisons cross finding Ladapo but he headed high and wide from a decent position. McLaughlin was then the provider for Simon Cox, his cross was tamely connected with by Cox and was easy for Roberts to claim.
Southend should have taken the lead moments after half time as a delightful ball by former Saddler Jason Demetriou found Harrison unmarked in the box but he side footed over the bar. It should have been 1-0 to the hosts.
Moments later Oztumer put the Saddlers one nil up. He had a shot from distance which on a normal pitch would have been claimed easily by the keeper however with Southend wanting the game on the ball bobbled past the keeper and into the net – left a wonderful taste in the mouth of the 119 brave Saddlers that made the trip down.
Walsall went 2-0 up moments later. Morris was fouled on the edge of the box and Oztumer stepped up and curled it into the bottom corner.
Oztumer then grabbed his hat trick on eighty five minutes, a cross by Leahy found its way to Oz and he steered it past Oxley – a superb afternoon for the man nicknamed ‘Turkish Messi’ and ‘Wizard Of Oz’ – its just a shame we will not be seeing him in a red shirt next summer.
It turned out to be a fantastic and unexpected victory for the Saddlers.
The future of manager Jon Whitney is still questioned by many supporters and the majority of them are asking that he is either removed as boss once safety is assured or he is removed at the end of the season. Many could argue that should we finish in our current position then we will have marginally improved on last seasons 14th position but its gone far too deep for it to continue. Should we lose on the opening day next season the daggers will be out and the bad atmosphere will return, we need a fresh start.