Date: 22nd October 2006 at 8:14am
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A day which had an FA Cup first round feel to it, brought about another three points for Walsall. However the performance whilst proffessional and disciplined was nothing special.In part some of this was due to the heart of the team been torn out before kick off. Skipper Martin Dobson and key striker Martin Butler both failing to make the 16 due to injury and sickness.

The absence of Butler was a major concern since the efforts to find an effective strike partnership without him had failed big style on tuesday. A short of confidence as well as fitness, James Constable got the chance to shine. Whilst Anthony Gerrard moved from defence to midfield to partner Keates, allowing Roper to return to centre half alongside Dann. The midfield in truth failed to gel and half time saw DD move Dann to right back and Gerrard to centre half to allow Pead into midfield. This contributed to a slow start to the second half by the Saddlers.

However by this stage Walsall had taken the lead almost against the run of play, with Gerrard finding Wright, whoose high cross was headed onto the bar by Constable, allowing Hector Sam to poach the goal.

The equaliser came as Stanley pushed to get back into the game, a free kick was given against Gerrard on the edge of the box and Crainey accepted the invitation to curl a beauty into the top corner…Ince had no chance.

Ishmel joined fellow sub Kinsella and shortly afterwards his low cross was bundled into the goal by Wright. From that point we never looked like conceeding an equaliser as Stanleys heads dropped.

In truth a workman like three points we had the chances to seal the game and make it 2-0, but we missed Butlers cutting edge. At 1-1, last season we would have gone on to lose not under Dickie though.
However some credit to Accrington, who have beaten Notts Forest, Carlisle, Wycombe at home as well as drawing with Swindon. It is a place that not many teams will leave with three points, they play to there strenghts and never give up and continue pressing, yet once again the Saddlers show they are equal to the challenge.

Player Ratings

Clayton Ince
Still carrying an injury but the way he commands his area was just what was required today. Some moments of uncertainty but stood no chance with the goal

Craig Pead
Another good game for Craig who seems to have grown in confidence under old mentor Dickie Dosh, slightly less effective in second half after moving to midfield.

Kris Taylor
Some difficult moments against there winger. Was taken off to allow Kinsella to enter midfield.

Ian Roper
Star man…does excatly what it says on the tin.

Scott Dann
The youngster continues to impress, however a second half move to right back saw him struggle when the winger was allowed to run at him with pace, but good experience.

Mark Wright
Typical Mark Wright some good bits some frustrating bits. The bottom line is, it was his cross for the first goal and he scored the second… Mark Wright no points

Anthony Gerrard
Looked uncertain in midfield and missed Kinsella alongside him. Moved back to centre half to equal Roper in his ability to deal with Mullins.

Dean Keates
Busy and combative midfield player, found Ishmel with a good ball which lead to the second goal.

Daniel Fox
Poor first half, improved when moved back to fullback

Hector Sam
His close control caused the defence all kinds of trouble, lead the line well in Butlers absence.

James Constable
Suprise choice, but his heading ability was required against strong centre halfs. Pity his headerdidn’t go in as that would have boasted his confidence. Booked for dissent but he was on the rough end of some strange decissions by Mr Tanner.

Mark Kinsella
His experience was important as Accrington started the second half well, as we struggled to settle from half time moves.

Ishmel Demontagnac
ASBO, gets better each time, provided the cross for the second and his pace worried a tried defence. Mixed it with the defence and didn’t react as they tried to wind him up…well done Ishy

Next Up
Cameo appearence as he returned to league action after 13 months out, I have a feeling Darren can play a key part this season.

Manager Rating
DD, must have feared the worse when he lost Butler and Dobson. Earlier in the season he showed concern about our ability if we lost either one, to lose both and come away with three points shows great character. He wasn’t affraid to change it around, some moves worked better than others.

Away Following
After a nightmere journey on the M6, 40% of the crowd was saddlers. A great effort since there were also Walsall fans who arrived late and others in the home end and main stand too. Three consectative away following of over 1000. Next league away day is Hereford…1000+ again I think. (we might have a fun FA Cup away game before too)

The Ground
Whilst it is nice to see Stanley back where they belong, the ground is not up to standards and the facilities couldn’t cope with our away following. Unfortunatly with such poor home crowds I can’t see where the finance is going to come from to improve.

Next Up
Mad Dog Martin Allen brings 6th placed MK Dons to Bescot. Next saturday 28th October with a 3pm kick off.
A strike force of Izale Mcleod, Taylor, Platt and Wilbraham will test our defence and clean sheet record, whilst the pace of ex bag lady Dyer will also cause us problems.


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