Walsall slipped to within one point of the relegation following the worst performance seen from a Walsall side in the past six years. This report will not be pretty so if you suffer from a nervous disposition please look away now.
Liam Kinsella and Isaiah Osbourne won the weekly club raffle and were drafted back into the side in place of ineligible Scott Laird and Andreas Makris was dropped to the bench. Jason McCarthy was moved to left back.
For the first time this season I sat in the upper tier hoping to understand our shape and game play – we don’t have one. Osbourne who is naturally a defensive midfielder was playing in a central midfield position with Chambers playing midfield sweeper, then when Osbourne went forward with Flo, Oz and Morris, poor Adam Chambers was left isolated to protect a very nervous back line.
It was no surprise that Scunthorpe bombarded our left hand side against a right back, come centre back and McCarthy was annihilated by hat-trick hero Josh Morris.
The warning signs were there in the opening thirty seconds as Toner and O’Connor did their best impersonation of the Sister Dora statue by standing still and watching Holmes to run through but he shot wide when he should have found the target.
Scunthorpe took the lead on ten minutes with one of the most ridiculous handballs you will ever see. Yes Kinsella is young and still learning but what he did was inexcusable and Morris dispatched the penalty with ease.
Scunthorpe continued to press down our left hand side and a through ball found Hopper unmarked whose shot was saved by Etheridge but the ball fell to Morris with O’Connor and Toner still in mode Sister Dora and he slotted the ball home to a chorus of boos and the Saddlers were left with a uphill task.
The first half continued in the same vain with Hopper and Morris continuing to disrupt the back four.
The Saddlers were given a lifeline on forty minutes as Scunthorpe decided to fall asleep and the little magician Erhun Oztumer danced through the midfield before firing a sweet left footed shot past the Scunthorpe keeper.
We are accustomed to a very poor second half and when Neal Bishop fired past Neil Etheridge just after half time it was inevitable the Irons would score again and they did to record their third 4-1 victory here in the past five years.
As a Walsall fan I expect us to lose. I expect teams to be better than us but what I wont accept is a side, which the manager states has all the passion in the world – just capitulate too easily. When we capitulate under Whitney we get hammered.
I don’t agree with the defenders of Jon Whitey stating we are still learning, we are still gelling – Port Vale signed 18 players (mainly foreign) in the summer and they are 5th in League 1. What Port Vale have which we don’t is a manager. We have a physio come manager.
The board have backed Whitney to replace the contract cock ups of last seasons promotion chasing side but with McCarthy, Moussa, Osbourne, Oztumer and Jackson – this side should not be in a relegation battle!
Last night was very reminiscent of a Paul Merson side. The ability to play players in every position other than their own is laughable. McCarthy has played right back, centre back and left back. Makris was signed as a striker yet played on the wing. Morris is a left winger but finds himself on the right. Cuvelier is a central playmaker but finds himself on the wing and then we hoof long balls to the midget Simeon Jackson?? There are far more questions than answers – this lies at the feet of the manager.
The club have managed to go backwards eight years in the space of six months and that is down to the board and no one else.
Jon Whitney is a great man, a loyal man and a man with integrity – its time for him to show more integrity and step down from his position with immediate effect.