Saddlers Social: Walsall fans have their say
Walsall fans have their say after another week at the Banks's Stadium.
What a win on Saturday vs Crawley. Let’s be honest, it should have been more comfortable than it was, especially after the first half chances we created. This win now hopefully carries on the momentum after the little blip against Cheltenham.
Another solid performance in particular from ‘Flash’ Josh Gordon, and I was, along with most people around me, surprised he wasn’t given the man of the match award on Saturday. Then steps up Wes McDonald, who did get the MOTM award, who curls (crosses) home a late winner in the top corner.
If we want to be taken seriously in this league this season and make a push for the play offs then we should be taking a minimum of four points against our next two opponents against Carlisle away and the struggling Morecambe at home.
Saturday was a great result but the performance and coming from behind will do so much more for the squad and could be a maturing point for a lot of our younger players.
An exciting debut cameo from Jack Nolan, McDonald’s goal and Josh Gordon absolutely leaving everything out on the pitch were a few of many positives from a great all round performance.
Our current position leaves us with two options going forward, a late push towards the play offs is available if we put a crazy run of form together. However, possibly even more beneficial would be early safety and the ability to plan for next season and settle the younger players for an exciting 20/21 season!
Whatever happens this season he rebuild of our club is in full swing and seems to be in safe hands.
The rollercoaster continues!
A great comeback from us, apparently the first time we’ve come from behind in the league this season and won? Still some issues present on Saturday, notably the poor defending for their goal, but another win is what we needed to keep us looking ‘up’.
A promising debut for Jack Nolan too – hopefully more to come from him. Wes McDonald’s goal was absolutely superb, up there as one of the best at the Banks’s that we’ve seen.
It got me thinking about great goals we’ve scored – Fryatt’s volley against Huddersfield, Merson against West Brom and of course, the best ever – Boli’s overhead kick against Southend.
To be honest, at the moment I’d take two yard toe pokes every week if it moves us up the table. Hopefully another three points against a poor Carlisle side on Saturday. UTS!
Well I’m loving 2020. I’ve only seen us win!
Orient, Salford and now Crawley. And comeback wins are the best, especially when we’ve been decidedly more Boyzone than Take That in comeback success terms (Ed -please make me look cooler with better band names).
I still don’t think we are very good, not that anyone in League Two is it seems, and we’re destined for mid-table. But character is starting to grow on top of the season-long effort and impressive workrate.
When Wes McDonald was named sponsors Man of the Match on Saturday, I joked it was because they were a Clairvoyance firm and knew he was going to score the winner in injury time. Well it wasn’t quite injury time, but what a way to win a game. Enjoy your 24 can tray of bitter Wesley.
And it’s refreshing to see a player continue to impress and perform despite being awarded a longer contract. So often it’s the other way around, players switching off once their medium term future is sorted, especially with wide players.
One small gripe chaps, can you start scoring goals like that at the Homeserve end please? My eyesight isn’t what it once was.
Another game, another week where Darrell Clarke and his team were able to answer a few questions. We’ve really struggled this season to bounce straight back following a loss and after going a goal behind it felt like this unwanted trait would be repeated. Coupled with us being second in the county for lowest points tally gained when going behind (thanks One Pod Beyond) I feared the worst.
As has often been the case, we had a pretty good first half despite trailing at half time with Caolan Lavery and Elijah Adebayo linking up well with Josh Gordon, who lined up on the right, yet had a free role when we were in possession. It was refreshing to see us line up with so many attack minded players on the pitch, but it was obvious why it’s not a tactic Clarke uses often. We were shocking at the back and against a better side we wouldn’t have been left with a hope at half time.
The plaudits for turning defeat into victory will go to the tireless Gordon, who deserved his goal for sheer effort alone, and the spectacular Wes McDonald, with an outrageous effort. The point where the game really turned for me though was introduction of Danny Guthrie and Jack Nolan.
Guthrie is a real calming presence when he can get in the pitch. He put his foot on the ball when others look to get rid quickly, resulting in us getting a foothold in a game that was seemingly fizzling out. Nolan gave us a balance out on the right that we haven’t had this season, showing the benefit of having more than one winger in the squad.
With eight points separating us and the play off places, a couple of key signings before the end of the window could see us have a stronger second half to the season, although not would be a huge ask.
Finally, a big thumbs up for the pop up bars in the Stadium Suite. It’s small wins like this that will start to being numbers back as much as results on the pitch. It really is refreshing to have a chairman that listens to supporters.
What a way to win a game! Wes McDonald with a stunner right towards the end, already starting to repay our further investment in him. It's nice to take the three points that late on rather than give them away like we tend to.
Just when I think the season is becoming a bit of a non-event (which is still OK for our first season back in League Two given the upheaval) we seem to pull something out of the bag and although we are eight points away from the playoffs at the moment there always seems to be one team each season that comes from lower down the table to mount a late charge into the playoffs. Could that be us this season I wonder? With a couple of extra signings of quality, who knows!
On a different topic, the fans forum this past week was actually quite enjoyable and it was great to see Stefan Gamble, Dan Mole, Darrell Clarke and Leigh Pomlett all speak well about the club and what they are looking to do. Hopefully we see the changes that are required to make us sustainable at League One and then possibly even further up. One thing I noted was a discussion about Maz Kouyhar who is going to be playing in a couple of reserve games soon. He is being given the opportunity to show what he's about and should he come up good, I suspect there is every chance we could offer him a short-term deal. I'm not so sure if this would be good or not, but as a winger it can only add competition to the squad now that we've got Jack Nolan too (who looked decent on his debut, by the way).
Onwards to Carlisle now, and hopefully we can avenge our recent result against them. I felt we were better than them, and should have won that day, so hopefully I'm writing about another three points on the road after this game, and hopefully some new incomings and outgoings too!
Keep the faith. UTS!
What. A. Goal. It’s definitely in the shortlist for the greatest finish I’ve ever seen at the Bescot (Roger Boli’s overhead kick was slightly before I started going). What is it about us scoring worldies in front of the away end?
I’m so glad we’ve signed Wes and even more pleased that he pulled that finish out of the bag after he put pen to paper rather than before. He’s a really promising talent, and if he maintains his current level across the duration of his contract, he could be key asset next season.
And next season really is what it’s all about. We aren’t going up this season but crucially we aren’t going down. That was always the most important thing and in the dire depths of October, I legitimately believe that was a very real possibility.
Reasonable safety is not to say we should take our foot off the pedal by any means, but we have the luxury of a certain degree of security which is vital as we assess things for the next campaign. Wes’s finish on Saturday masked what was at times a labouring, poor performance.
Regular readers of my column will know I usually find space to moan about the facilities and service at matches. Instead, this week I’m going to praise the club for the introduction of a ‘pop up bar’. It shows they’re listening and trying new things. Its a small step, but in the right direction and it makes me happy.
Funny what a win does to you, isn’t it?
WHAT A GOAL! Wes' goal was perhaps the best and definitely in the top five goals I have seen at the Banks and worthy of winning any game. As many have said on social media if that strike was in the Premier League the pundits would be talking about it for a while. It wasn’t just the spectacular finish but the skill and patience to open up the space to allow for the strike.
Onto the game and what Saturday showed was our attacking threat is there the four attackers Caolan Lavery, Josh Gordon, Elijah Adebayo and Wes McDonald all had good games creating opportunities and ultimately taking the chances. Defensively we looked poor and we could have no complaints if we were one or two down in the first 10 minutes as they attacked at will down our right side. Cameron Norman was left isolated as Gordon didn’t provide much cover down that side and Crawley exposed that.
The fact that we battled back from behind was a major plus as so many times last season we fell behind and ultimately fell apart. This team seems to have a bit of character and belief which can only be a positive going towards the end of the season.
On the signings front Jack Nolan looked bright in his 20 or so on the pitch.
It has been one hell of a week for Saddlers fans. Leigh Pomlett and Darrell Clarke were very open and honest at the fans forum, and there are many improvements that the club as a whole, and I for one look forward to the Bescot Bar improvements, the continuation of the pop up bars, and the potential of safe standing.
Clarke said at the forum he wanted to improve the home form as he feels the fans have been let down at home. The win was massive, not only because it was at home, but also because we managed to come from behind to win a league game. Jack Nolan looked bright and Rory Holden's applause as he walked round the pitch after he was subbed shows how he has improved too.
It is nice to now be in a position of really looking up, and thinking 'we can win this' again, after a couple of horrid seasons.
What a way to win a game, the megnuts king left it late but I think we deserved the win on the whole.
I thought Jack Nolan had a decent debut when he came on and looked very threatening down that right hand side and again Super Josh Gordon showed his passion and commitment to the cause from minute one to 90.
We now move onto two games that look winnable on paper and without getting ahead of myself five wins in six leagues games in January would be great start to 2020.
I was unable to attend the Fans forum on Thursday but the online commentary provide by Mr Keen showed honest conversation from all parties, nice to actually see actions from the forum put immediately into place, the pop up bars in the stadium suite looked a success with que times minimal and the beer tasting much better.