Date: 5th August 2006 at 8:09pm
Written by:

Now lets not get carried away, the fact is we have beaten a very poor Rochdale side, who I am sorry to say we pretty clueless at times. Although we don’t yet known what the standard of this league is, it is a fair bet that the level of performance Rochdale put in is more relegation form than promotion. Perhaps some credit should be given to the saddlers for pressing Rochdale into that type of performance, who knows.

In the first half the saddlers skippered by Michael Dobson had more of the play and created the better chances without having any real luck in front of goal. We failed to capitalise on defensive mistakes with there Keeper alert enough to keep us out. In fact Matthew Gilks pulled off two stunning saves at the end of the frst half to keep the score level.Whilst Clayton Ince watched one 4th minute shot go high over the bar and made to straight forward catches…no problem really.

The second half kicked off with Rochdale threatening from a harsh free kick given by a rather inconsistant referee.Once the danager had been dealt with the ball broke down the other end were good play between Sam and Wright saw the pass for Butler deflected into his path, and he side footed low into the corner, Gilks will be disappointed he didn’t stop it after some fine first half keeping.
After that Rochdale tried to step up a gear but couldn’t, our make shift defence was looking quiet solid despite the absence of Roper and Westwood. The fact that Alan Picken only actually arrived in the country midweek made his and the defensive performance creditable.
Michael Dobson and Mark Kinsella worked hard and controlled midfield but that lack of creativity is still concerning, a more creative approach might have yeilded more goals.
Wide, Mark Wright did well but his end product again was indifferent. Daniel Fox was adequate and linked up well showed little going forward.
despite this Butler ran his socks off as did Sam would went off later when he couldn’t run any more. We could have scored more and wasted good oppourtunities to finish off the game. In the end despite 4 minutes of added time the game finished without any real panics, a Lambert free kick and high foot given as an indirect free kick just inside the box the only times the blood pressure rose.

Player Ratings

Clayton Ince
Not really extended some routine catches a couple of good punches dealt with crosses into the box well, troubled by one Lambert freekick which he palmed away.

Craig Pead
Steady looked very similar to last season although got forward more sometimes made defensive errors, will probably be replaced by Westwwod on his return.

Anthony Gerrard
Played more right side of centre defense and the change didn’t phase him solid performance

Alan Picken
Yellow card for late tackle, and took a while to get to the pace of the english game, improved as the game went on and coped well with Rickie Lambert, last seasons division two top scorer without issue.
Ran Martin Butler close for MOM

Kris Taylor
The midfielder did well at full back but it will be interesting to see him up against a winger who runs at him, perhaps Alan Picken may complete for that role!!!

Mark Wright
Frustrating, he has the ability but not the consistancy and his end product is some times too slow in coming over.

Mark Kinsella
faded towards the end as his old legs started to go but battled well and used the ball well.

Michael Dobson
The most commanding player on the pitch with some good tackling and interceptions at both ends of the park. Looks a good free signing.

Daniel Fox
The young player sufferd from a lack of confidence towards the end of last season, been played out of position isn’t helping.Didn’t do anything wrong but we could be so much more threatening down that flank.

Hector Sam
Fell over rather easy, but also showed some good touches and movement. Clearly not 100% match fit and will be desperate to get his first goal since almost a year out.

Martin Butler
MOM we won’t go far wrong if Martin cancontinue this type of performance.

Dean Keates
came on for Mark Kinsella and slotted in well litle time to make any real impression. But had one chance to finish off the game but screwed his shot wide, when it looked like he should have scored.

James Constable
Looks lean and mean his first proffesional pre season and you can see he wants a starting spot, laid on a good chance for Keates but otherwise came on too late to shine.

Manager Rating
Richard Money claimed we deserved the points and was happy we got past a stubborn defence. In truth we should have threatened more and the forthcomming signing of a more creative player and the return of a fit Tony Bedeau should help. The defense whilst solid today I am sure will have stern tests ahead, the return of Westwood and Roper may help.

Opponent Rating
Steve Parkin, if thats the best your boys can do, no wonder you think this campaign will be the most challenging of your career.
Pitch was nice though !!!


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