Advertising

Saddlers Social: Walsall fans have their say

By Liam Keen | Walsall FC | Published:

A group of Saddlers Fans have their say after two wins on the bounce for Darrell Clarke's team.

Saddlers Social

Robert Dearn

Has DC finally found his team? Two games this week has seen a total of eight goals, half of which came from a resurgent Josh Gordon. Personally, I am delighted for Josh. He works tirelessly for the team no matter what the score is. His work rate and attitude have been incredible, not only this season, but from last as well.

I am also very glad to see Lavery returning to the team. He is the type of striker we have been desperately missing. Not only does he look sharper in front of goal, but he seems to be able to make runs to help the midfield get the ball forward. Despite not scoring, his assists are so vital.

Finally I want to give credit to Shay Facey. He has waited in the wings, and must have been getting impatient with not being able to play, yet he has taken his chance over the last couple of games, and looks set for a run of games. His attacking play has been a breath of fresh air down the wing. Let’s hope he can keep up the performances.

James Kenealey

We won a football match. I was tempted to leave my piece this week at just those five words.

It was, weirdly, all reasonably comfortable too. Aside from a few minutes of squeakiness at the end it was a refreshingly solid showing from a side who have lacked any form of solidity for well over six weeks.

Lavery and Gordon have to be the up front partnership moving forward, with the former holding up the ball and linking in well with the latter, whose hat trick in the Mickey Mouse Cup midweek seems to have left us with a player reborn.

Advertising

Wes McDonald needs to be signed up on a longer term deal as a matter of urgency, with the Cambridge right back presumably needing immediate surgery on Saturday night after being torn a new one all afternoon.

Alfie Bates must be lying about his age, because he has skill and confidence far in excess of his 18 years.

Also, I don’t condone booing of players as they come on but Gaffney’s time with us is over. One-on-one with the keeper in the dying minutes, he instead miss-hits a pass backwards which ultimately ends with us conceding. Very poor.

An above average crowd once again bought up the same issues. Endless queues for those wanting tickets, a drink, food, access through turnstiles, anything really. I hate to bring it up again, but I’m going to keep doing so like a broken record until something is done about it. Come on Leigh.

Advertising

Chris Saunders

Typical of Walsall to pick up the three points on a week when I was away on holiday so missed the game, but it’s three points on the board we have been desperate for. The confidence gained from beating a young Forest Green side so convincingly allows the team to start the next game on the front foot and it looks like in Josh Gordon we have a striker gaining confidence. We must now allow the partnership between him and Lavary develop and hopefully this will breed in to the other forward players performances.

The youngsters in the team seem to be thriving and the balance between experience and youth is a very promising sign. Hopefully a run can be put together now and the next couple of transfer windows can allow us to make tweaks rather than large changes to the squad. McDonald looks like he is grabbing his chance and I just hope we don’t get left with a Ginnelly situation in January where he leaves and isn’t properly replaced.

Beating Darlington and Oxford and getting a good cup tie in the third round would be a nice Christmas treat and boost the coffers as well!

Daniel Price

Ok so what a week that was, started with a great 6 -0 midweek win over what may have been a youthful Forest Green team, but like I said at the time, the goals and the win are valuable to team on a run like us.

Saturday, as the early goal suggests, we started very well and very fast. The goal came from a great piece of work by Shay Facey out wide but guess who was in the right place at the right time, our new goalscoring supremo Josh Gordon.

It just shows what confidence and goals can do for a striker, he looked a threat all game on Saturday and his link up play with not only Lavery but the wide players, McDonald and Holden, was great to see.

I said last week that for me three players had to start if they were fit, Gordon, Lavery and McDonald. I thought all three linked up really well but McDonald was another level on Saturday, every time he got the ball he was direct, he lifted the fans off their bums on every occasion and also put the Cambridge defenders on them, on more than one occasion. We have to extend his current deal past January, in this league he will cause havoc.

That’s feels much better writing a positive report, long may it continue with a cup win midweek and a November 6 pointer on Saturday against Stevenage. UTS

Jon Taylor

What a difference a week makes, the performance on Saturday for was up there as the most complete performance of the season so far. Could the performance and result against Darlington have been a catalyst for the players and management? Being so close to losing to a side down the football pyramid should have alarm bells ringing.

Another factor on Saturday was also defending a lead. Too many times we have been chasing a game which leads to the mistakes and errors which have cost us so far this season. Lavery and Gordon worked so hard up top and our press worked, in the second half when they were tiring Cambridge’s back line had more joy passing the ball out.

On Thursday I am hoping I can walk into work with my head held high after dispatching Darlington and as long as we play with the same energy as Saturday I think we should get into the next round of the cup.

Stuart Cox

Well that was better…a cracking first 20 minutes in which we pretty much dominated and could have been three or four up.

Yes, they had their chances which on another day might have gone in, but we played well throughout and kicked on after last Tuesday’s result.

Pleased for Gordon – hopefully we may get to see the player that is in there somewhere. McDonald was great again and needs to be signed before anyone else decides to have a punt. He is the one player most likely to create something, either for himself or others. Yes, he will make the wrong decision now and then, but he is an excellent player at this level.

Alfie Bates continues to impress and will be playing at a higher level soon and Lavery must be first choice centre forward when fit.

I said to my brother during the second half that I was hoping he wouldn’t bring Gaffney on as I thought he might get a frosty reception and was proved right – embarrassingly so.

There aren’t many clubs where their so-called fans boo a player when he comes on. Yes, he hasn’t been great in the last few games, but well done to those fans who destroyed any confidence he may have left and ensured he won’t be bothered to give his all for the cause. Let’s hope they were here for the £5 offer and don’t bother returning.

Three more points on Saturday and maybe, just maybe…we can start looking upwards? Mid table at Christmas given the start we’ve had would be a great achievement.

Jack Talbot

What a difference back to back wins can make!

A solid performance on Saturday, apart from the last five minutes which were quite nervy. It’s good to see that we had four academy players on the pitch, especially Alfie Bates who is being talked about quite a lot in the past few weeks.

With the televised FA Cup replay up next on Wednesday, surely we have to be going for three in a row and then comes the already important six-pointer on Saturday against Stevenage.

Let’s not all get carried away but this time next week it could all be looking a little brighter with another two wins. Then we can recruit a couple of the right players to then push on and build on this slow starting season.

Rob Harvey

Football – it’s a funny old game isn’t it? Last week we were wondering where our next win was coming from, and now we’ve had two in a week, with the one vs Cambridge hopefully being a massive turning point in our season. We even scored twice in the first ten minutes, which is surely a rarity in recent times? I’m more used to us conceding two in the first ten!

The team we saw on Saturday has to be near enough our best XI, with maybe one or two exceptions, so I hope that we continue with this team as confidence looks to be growing. Josh Gordon and Caolan Lavery seem to be building up a good partnership, and by the same token, so do Liam Kinsella and Alfie Bates (what a player he could turn out to be too). If we can get the spine of the team sorted, everything else should fall in to place for us.

It was good to see a bigger crowd due to the £5 offer, and hopefully the result encourages a few more to visit on a more frequent basis once again. It was great to feel a bit of a better atmosphere and hopefully that can become a more permanent fixture providing the team start to consistently do the business on the pitch to help out too.

Looking forward to the next game on Wednesday, I hope we are very much looking forward to a second round tie with Oxford, but whatever does happen, the past seven days has given some cautious optimism to fans that things can and will change, and I feel that if we can make it to January without being in massive danger, we can prosper in the second half of the season. Signing Wes McDonald is a must too!

Nick Etheridge

Well, Saturday was fun wasn’t it? It’s amazing what a change in mentality can do. I feared the worst when I saw the likes of Kinsella and Bates lining up against extras from the BFG, fully expecting us to be out-muscled all over the park. Rather than sitting back and fathoming out what Cambridge were going to do as we have done in recent weeks, we really took the game to them and took them by complete surprise.

Even at 2-0 up, the team didn’t let up and kept going at them. Liam Roberts, who we all know divides opinion, set the tone by releasing the ball early, letting us counter attack to good effect. Had we got a third, it could easily have been a repeat of the 6-0 against Forest Green.

Most of the plaudits will go to Josh Gordon, McDonald and Lavery who were all a constant menace throughout. Someone who will slip under is Shay Facey. He defended solidly throughout but it was going forward where he really stood out. With Rory Holden always looking to cut inside, we’ve lacked that natural width down the right. Facey’s inclusion means that we have a threat down both wings and are not overly reliant on McDonald.

This results in Wes being able to play the full game rather than an hour. If we can continue this level of performance then we will soon start to push up the league.

Ian Newbold

Fair play to the club, the players, the management, us fans. We all earned that win on Saturday.

So is that a corner we’ve turned, or did the manager finally just pick a better starting XI? I’m unsure, but we look a different team with Lavery in it. Bar the three goal blitz at Crawley we’ve looked pretty impotent without him. Conversely on Saturday, we looked a real threat going forward. Can one player change a team that much? When they’re a decent number nine I guess they can.

Let’s not get carried away but perhaps we could soon be joining the League Two also rans. Not exactly inspiring, but it’s a start and much better than where we have been heading. Add another winger, some experience in midfield, a viable alternative/back up to Lavery and we’d be amongst that pack of safe obscurity. Mind, injuries or loss of form to some key players and equally we’ll be back to trudging above just Morecambe and Stevenage.

Some of the answers may even already be here. Adebayo needs to try the role of a winger, as failed too many auditions as a number 9 or 10. Sinclair and Guthrie should provide the guile to keep control of games. We managed less than 40 per cent possession at home against middling Cambridge.

Hopefully if we can progress in the FA Cup this week it will bring both momentum and a few pounds sterling to put into the playing budget for 2020.

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News