Woeful Walsall 1-4 Scunthorpe
I usually wait until the next day to write my watch reports as I don’t like emotional, over the top reactions. However, given that we turned in the most shocking, abject, poor performance I can remember watching for a long time, I don’t really want to calm down from it so have written this as soon as I got home.
We were hopeless from the outset, as James Chambers somehow managed to make Richard Taundry look like a competent right back, while on the opposite side of the defence the aforementioned Taundry looked less like a fish out of water and more like a fish up a tree.
I must confess, I missed the first goal as I was looking at Ashley Hemmings Twitter feed, but in a nutshell it was ‘Big man unmarked at the back post 1 yard from goal’. We’d have probably managed to squander the chance had the roles been reversed, but they weren’t and we were inevitably behind.
Chambers was having one of those games where you were thinking ‘Thank God we haven’t got two of him’, but unfortunately we had his twin brother Adam, who was being equally hopeless in the midfield. He was caught out again when Scunthorpe raced clear but were denied by a last ditch Butler tackle. They then had a goal ruled out for a push on Butler which denied them what was a cracking finish from there man. It was only a matter of time until the visitors scored again, and the ease in which they managed it was shocking. The visiting striker wriggled away from Holden and forced a half decent stop from Grof, who could only push it to the feet of Duffy. 0-2, and it looked like game over.
On the stroke of half time however we looked to have been given a lifeline. Adam Chambers and David Prutton both lunging in for a ball on the halfway line. It was one of those where whoever got there first was getting hurt, and whoever didn’t was heading for an early bath. Chambers won the race, Prutton walked off and after a couple of minutes treatment so did Chambers, who was however able to return.
Now, as Walsall fans we were all taught by Chris Hutchings that its harder to play against 10 men than 11 and, given that we’d managed one whole shot in the first half (30 yards from Jake Jones, went 6 yards wide and was celebrated like a goal by the Saddlers faithful), so any second half comeback seemed unlikely anyway. Jones paid the price for having a shot by being replaced at half time by Will Grigg.
So, proving Hutchings theory, 2-0 became 3-0 five minutes after the break when Scunthorpe scored from a near post corner. Being 3-0 down at home to a team in the bottom 4 who were playing with 10 men meant something needed to be done, and Dean Smith proved to all why he’d earned his two year contract extension by bringing on…an untried left back? The only good part to this plan was that we finally saw the back of the truly shocking James Chambers. Taundry went to right back, so maybe now we would shore up that side of the defence.
Nope, as the fourth Scunny goal came from exactly that position. Ex dingle Leon Clarke broke away, Grof came racing out and Clarke chipped the ball over him before slotting into an empty net. Grof has now had more chips over him this season than I get in my Friday lunchtime buttie from the fish bar. The nil on our side of the scoreboard was seriously flattering us, but somehow we did manage to find the scoresheet when Grigg tucked home nicely in stoppage time.
For anyone still in any doubt at just how disgraceful that performance was, the sponsors refused to name a MOTM (for what its worth, I’d have given it Baxendale). It really was that bad.