Date: 9th September 2006 at 8:04pm
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It was always going to happen sometime, but Walsall finally slipped to there first defeat of the season in disappointing circumstances. In truth we had enough chances to win the game. However if we fail to take chances and put in such a poor defensive display the outcome really is easy to predict.

In truth for the first time Dickie Dosh has some serious choices to make for the next game against Peterbrough. The right back spot is still proving to be a trouble to solve. For the first time this season the centre half partnership of Gerrard and Roper failed to cope with the opposition attack with a series of errors. Neither could complain if they found themselves left out on Tuesday. In midfield despite the individual workrates does the Keates Dobson combination provide the right blend in midfield. Upfront Hector Sam still needs to find the net, it is too much of a burden to ask Martin Butler to carry the goalscoring responsibility. However on the positive side we could have easily won, and we have only lost once in eight games. So it’s not as black as this game suggests a lot of other teams would swap places with us at the moment.

In the match itself Walsall took the lead on nine minutes when Martin Butler tapped in from close range against the run of play. For a short while this seemed to shake the home side. However as in the last two away games we were suffering from a poor first half performance and we were punished for some poor defending on the 39th minute when we failed to deal with a ball into our box after Pead had cleared one effort. The ball finally broke to Bolland who accepted the gift from 12 yards. At this point we seemed to lose the plot somewhat and Rankine managed to get through the defence for a one on one with Ince, the big keeper came out on top this time. In truth Clayton had commanded his area well.

We were glad to here the half time whistle. Dickie made some brave changes at half time as he had needed to in the previous two away games. Westwood came on for Pead at full back, whilst Kris Taylor also came on for the ineffective Fangueiro allowing Fox to push to left midfield. A much better second half was had by the saddlers but the poor defensive display blighted the day. Things might have been different if we had accepted the chances with Fox missing two, Wright also failing and Martin Butler failing to get above a Mark Wright cross which would have given him an easy chance for his second.

Dickie Dosh was also upset by the match officals, when Martin Butler was adjudged offside when he was not active preventing Sam with a clear run on goal. Mark Wright was also bearing down on goal only to be pushed over, although landing in the box the incident may have occurred outside, however to the shock of many he gave no free kick. In what would have been a good game for a neutral Grimsby also had there chances with Ince again coming to the rescue, aided by some poor finishing.

In the 73 minute Grimsby sub Peter Bore headed in the winner at the far post, for once Ince didn’t come for the ball and was possible at fault. Walsall didn’t lie down and showed the fighting spirit which earnt a point at Lincoln. In the closing minutes some last ditch defending prevented Martin Butler getting free and a Martin Dobson drive was saved on the line by Barnes, in the final minute of the 3 minutes of added time Sam went close with his effort being cleared off the line. The final whistle was greated with relief from the Mariners who recorded there second win of the season and there first since the opening day.

Player Ratings

Clayton Ince
Generally sound and made some good saves as the defence caved in in front of him. He will question if he sound have cut out the cross for the second goal.

Craig Pead
One good clearance prevented a goal but the ball came back and they scored, thats the way goes some times with drawn at half time tactical or injury not sure.

Ian Roper
Struggled against Jones and Rankin but gave 100% as usual as with the rest of the defence must be wondering if he will get a chance to put it right on tuesday.

Anthony Gerrard
I my opinion his worst display of the season, if Alan Picken is fit enough he may well lose his place.

Daniel Fox
Just not standing out like he did in the first few games of last season, the swapping between midfield and full back doesn’t seem to be helping the team, although in the long term will help his overall game.

Carlos Fangueiro
The early promise seems to be fading taken off at half time.

Martin Dobson
100% effort but doesn’t seem as commanding as he did along side Kinsella, is that due to his fitness, the opposition or because he and Keates don’t work together!

Dean Keates
100% effort but very similar to Dobo

Mark Wright
Improved second half, but Mark Wright is showing he has found his level as a good league two player but we need more, Tony Bedeau is waiting in the wings.

Hector Sam
Confidence seems to be draining away, he can’t buy a goal at the present time, perhaps he needs one to hit his backside and go in, until then DD will be looking at the available options

Martin Butler
He scored his fourth of the season and with a bit more luck could have got a second that may have made the difference, I will not have to many complaints about a striker who is scoring one every two games.

Chris Westwood
The usual good and bad performance some good defending at times one good run forward, some poor distrubution and positioning.

Kris Taylor
Slotted in the team second half but didn’t shine but he was not alone in that.
Little time to make a difference really but his directness and pace worried the home defence, would not be too upset if he got his chance on tuesday.

Manager Rating
It is now DD will prove his worth as a manager. This defeat and it’s manner will hurt and hopefully the players will equally feel the pain. It is how we respond which will be the key to our season. We have two league home games coming up 6 points must be the target. Will he give the team a chance to put it right or will he make changes that is the question.

Away tactics
In truth this defeat has been coming, a poor performance in the first half at Barnet and Lincoln has been rescued in the second half. We have played it tight and some what defensive in the previous games in the first half and it failed. However we tried the same with two wingers today and again failed perhaps we need to try some thing different our next away games are at Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury those will not be easy.

We had 48% possession against Grimsbys 52%
The Mainers had 9 shots on target (one off ) and ten corners, whilst we had only 4 on target, 8 off target just shows we left our shooting boots at home. With just 5 corners.


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