These match reports are getting far too enjoyable to write!
So many times last season I struggled to get the motivation to write one but this team are a joy to watch and write for.
OK we might be getting ahead of ourselves and its a little early in the season to be making bold statements but if after this start we find ourselves drifting towards mid-table mediocrity then this side still deserves your backing. These players play for that famous badge, want to put everything on the line for the club and are a group of players we can all be proud of.
All our league games so far have required different performances and we are still unbeaten. From the opening day nerves against Plymouth, to the attacking prowess against Scunthorpe, to the cup victory under the lights of Prenton Park, to the flair and excitement against Gillingham and finally to the ugly win last night – the sign of a good side is being able to mix it up to win matches.
Lets not forget, going into last nights match Wimbledon had not conceded a league goal in their opening three games and we scored three past them!
We got lucky last night but you create your own luck by doing all the right things, it will finally fall for you.
Two goals that epitomises our luck were clear to see last night. First of all you need to watch Will Nightingale’s own goal if you have yet seen it – it will be on those comedy blooper DVD’s for years to come and then Andy Cooks second goal of the season. The ball was hit against him and found its way into the net. Very reminiscent of that goal Pedro Matias scored in the play-off semi final against Stoke – as I said you create your own luck by doing all the right things!
For the opening twenty five minutes last night it was the best we have played this season. The Saddlers rightfully took the lead in the sixteenth minute as Keiron Morris hit a sweet left footed shot which flew into the roof of the net. Think most of us in the stadium expected it to go wide but all jokes aside its proof that Morris can do it – he just needs some confidence and belief. He will get that under Keates.
The goal fired Wimbledon into life and Pinnock, Wordsworth and Appiah all had chances to get the hosts level. However the colossal defence held out and half time was finally here so the lads could regroup and go again.
However the second half started as the first ended with Wimbledon pressing for the equaliser. Pinnock raced into the box but pulled his effort wide of the target. The Saddlers began to sit deeper. Dean Keates then shouted a few instructions from the bench and Osbourne and Dobson started to move forward and offer more support to the front men. Then on seventy minutes the Saddlers doubled our lead.
First off the referee bizarrely gave Wimbledon a throw in when it was the Dons player who put the ball out. The throw in was sent to Nightingale who then attempted it to pass it back to the keeper in his goal…..but the keeper wasn’t in his goal and the ball found the bottom corner. It was a surreal moment where the 244 Saddlers fans laughed their heads off, celebrated and then laughed their heads off some more.
Soon after it was 3-0. Andy Cook was in the right place to block a defenders attempted pass and it just hit him and found the corner of the net. The Saddlers were out of sight and our way to our third successive win in league and cup.
That elusive clean sheet went begging again in the final few minutes. Luke Leahy lost the ball on the touchline for the ball to find Appiah in the box who bundled it in from close range. I will not criticise Leahy and neither should you the reader – he was outstanding last night apart from one lapse in concentration.
Credit to Wimbledon though, they played some nice football at times and put our defence under immense pressure. Keep playing like that and they wont be near the bottom of League 1 this season.
So now we head to Rochdale knowing a fourth successive victory will see the Saddlers cement our place in the top six – feels good to read that again doesn’t it?
As I said in our opening statement – this is a team to be proud of and one we should all be supporting.
We have our Walsall back.