Date: 23rd April 2006 at 9:15am
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Well the fat lady cleared her throat over the Easter weekend and finally broke out into verse on Saturday, when Walsall failed to beat Huddersfield. In truth we huffed and puffed but never looked good enough. Recent performances have sent a very low standard, and yes this was an improvement on the Bristol, Yeovil Blackpool games but it was way below the standard required to maintain league one status.Again you can question the passion desire and attitude of the team. I am not saying that they didn’t care but they certainly didn’t believe they could do it.

A good start where Walsall threatened with out extending Paul Rachubka in the terriers goal. Then almost against the run of play David Graham found the ball at his feet 25 yards from goal. With the defence in the 5-3-2 formation on there heals, Graham took the invite to shot and dispatched a low shot into the corner of the net. As Huddersfield celebrated any remaining confidence visably drained away. Worse was to follow as the recalled Mads Timm who was providing the only source of creativity was forced off on the half hour after stretching for a ball whilst been fouled on the edge of the box, Kevin James came on but the free kick hit the wall.

The second half brought a slight improvement with Kevin James playing just behind the front two, worried the visitors defence when running at them but never found the final ball. Constable looked certain score at the far post when he was pulled back, the ref gave nothing, and in truth he shouldn’t have had to make a descision as Constable had enough of the ball to score.

In a game with plently of niggles, Claridge and Clarke already been booked for a tussell, things went from bad to worse. Westwood in the 71st minute reacted to an Andy Booth challenge and kicked out at the Huddersfield man, quite rightly Westwood was dismissed and so went any faint hope of getting a result.

As Walsall continued to push forward, Huddersfield looked dangerous on the break and controlled the ball for long periods of time using the extra man well. It was no suprise when three minutes after coming on Pawel Abbott found space in the centre to volley against the post from a right wing cross, the rebound fell to his feet to tap into the now unguarded net.

Micheal Leary pulled one back with a deflected shot from the edge of the box as the board went up indicating 3 minutes of stoppage time. It was in that third minute that a far post diving header by Andy Booth restored the two goal margin. The left wing cross also lead to Kevin James lipping out as his return from injury proved too soon and cramp had set in.

The end of the game brought increased vocal protests against Jeff Bonser and a small demonstration followed outside the ground…..two games left to get some pride back.

Player Ratings

Andy Oakes
Not at fault with any of the goals but lacking confidence as is the rest of the team.

Craig Pead
Hasn’t really got the pace to perform the wing back roll, found himself out of position too often. Like Daniel Fox after the first goal fell back too deep.

Anthony Gerrard
Sponsors MOTM and made some good tackles and important headers. Still learning his trade and made some mistakes

Pablo Mills
The only loan player I would keep solid if unspectacular.

Chris Westwood
Any improvement on the pitch was lost in the red mist as one moment of madness defined his season. It was unnessary, unproffessional, and has given the boo boys more ammunition.
If the right bid came in I wouldn’t be suprised if he went. If he stays he needs to win over the Walsall faithful, but be in doubt he could be a useful player in league two.

Daniel Fox
Still looking unhappy at the momment whether it is pressure or off the pitch factors or just the end of a long season for the 19 year old, he isn’t performing as he did earlier in the season.

Simon Osborn
Gave his all in trying to get things moving forward, came off in the 68 minute for Micheal Leary, and he looked tried.

Dean Keates
Gave the usual Deano performance but his shortcomings are found out at this level. Will be more comfortable in league two.

Mads Timm
Our only creative outlet which caused Huddersfield any problems. The reoccurance of his injury means it was probably his last game in a Walsall shirt.

Steve Claridge
Ran, held the ball up well, never looked like scoring. At forty his lack of pace meant that there was never any chance of a ball down the channels been caught.

James Constable
A player brought for future seasons asked to do a job now. At times it shows with the wrong descissions and wanting too long on the ball. I feel for him been put into this situation.

Kevin James
Didn’t look comfortable in the ‘off the front two role’ in the first half. Better second half when the ball was at his feet and running at defenders. Never found the right final pass though.

Micheal Leary
Supported the front two better than Osborn who is more defence minded. Scored our goal with a deflected shoy,but at least he shots.

The Loanees

Manager Rating
In his post match interview he feels he has left no stone unturned in trying to keep the saddlers up. I beieve him, but still ask the questions were his tactics right for the players we had. I don’t know if he is the man to take us forward, we will have to see if Jeff makes him another scape goat.

League Two
Make no bones about it League two will be as hard if not harder than League one. Look at Swansea, Southend and Scunthorpe for example. But it will be more physical and some teams will have less technical ability.

We will need to be disciplined and organised, something we lost under Paul Merson.

The squad will need to change to break the losing habbit, but I do feel in the younger players we have a nucleus of a good team with the right manager.

Any team that is going to be competitive needs a goal scorer look at any team in league one or any of top teams in league two……we need to invest in a striker.

Kevin Broadhurst
Is he the manager to take us back up and rebuild the club. Well he knows league two and knows the style of play, but I am still unsure. I have also lost faith in Jeff to make the right appointment.

The Loanees
They should be approached and if they don’t want to play in league two they shouldn’t play at gillingham.


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