Posted by: Bescot Banter


Earlier today Walsall Football Club travelled to Glanford Park to take on Scunthorpe United in Sky Bet League One. Bescot Banter columnist Pete Sadler was there, and shares his Match Report below.
Earlier today Walsall Football Club travelled to Glanford Park to take on Scunthorpe United in Sky Bet League One. Bescot Banter columnist Pete Sadler was there, and shares his Match Report below.

I think it is fair to say there wasn't much optimism going into this game, despite the signing of Manset. After Wednesday's cup exit and failing to score for the second game in a row there were plenty of calls to play with two up-top...maybe Deano is a regular reader of twitter to pick the team, as he duly obliged.

I arrived early for the game before the teams has been announced, so was on hand to hear the reaction from the Saddlers faithful (the ones that weren't propping up the bar somewhere) when they found out Sawyers wasn't in the matchday squad. Shocked I think we would all agree. I assumed injury but it transpired it was to join up with his international colleagues early. Holden and Kinsella dropped to the bench in favour of James Chambers and O'Connor in the back 4, with Forde and Grimes operating wide in midfield and new-boy Manset partnering Bradshaw.

The Super Saddlers started off the pace, which I'm sure wasn't helped by James Chambers limping off within the opening few minutes to be replaced by Holden. Despite some minor scares defensively and not being able to retain possession in the final third we grew into the game and were unlucky not to open the scoring with a free-kick wide on the left finding Bradshaw at the back post, only for his header to be tipped over by the keeper. Chances on goal were at a premium, without checking I only recall a nice run down the left wing from Forde but the cross didn't find a teammate and then a decent save from O'Donnell at his near post from a tight angle to deny the opposition.

Grimes was replaced before the break, another injury concern, with Baxendale entering the fray. 0-0 at halftime was met with a mixture of polite applause and disappointed grumblings at the change in style of play, which were warranted in my opinion. I'm not sure if it was a conscious decision to pump the ball long and bypass the midfield or not, but it wasn't sticking and Bradshaw was winning more in the air than his strike partner in any event...regardless of the obvious height disadvantage.

H/T: Scunthorpe United 0 Walsall 0

Half-time. The entertainment was probably a highlight, save as for the music choice which was absolutely superb. If you like a bit of indie/Brit-pop it was worth the entrance fee alone. I forget the name of the game played at the break, but it involved spinning round a broomstick then taking a shot at the funny bunny mascot. Not one person made it to the shot. Hilarity personified.

Just over 5 minutes into the second half the deadlock was broken, by the home side obviously. Hakeeb Adelakun being allowed to run with the ball, evading 3/4 attempted challenged before wandering into the box and striking the ball powerfully past the keeper. The home fans woke up and began chirping, which was better late than never I suppose.

The Iron fans had more to celebrate shortly after. A free kick was conceded deep into our half which was taken by Gary McSheffrey who managed to get the ball to dip under the crossbar and nestle in the back of the net. Exit stage left for some of the travelling fans who had already seen enough.

As a positive point the lads didn't capitulate and mounted a semblance of a fight, aided by the rousing away fans I'm sure. The passing and movement returned, with Baxendale becoming increasingly involved. Walsall's goal however came from a long goal kick from O'Donnell however, which was chased by Bradshaw who beat the on rushing opposition keeper and managed to flick the ball on with his head into the net. Best player on the pitch for Walsall today I would suggest and a few could learn from his work ethic.

At 2-1 there was hope. This was far from helped by some questionable refereeing decisions. Had I been an assessor for this ref (which I'm not obviously) I would say he has a home bias. That's being kind. Morris was introduced on the left in place of Forde, who added an element of pace and direct running which caused problems. Clifford and Adam Chambers became increasingly involved too but chances were still few and far between. A number of bookings kept the officials involved in the game but the equaliser just would not come. Not even 5 minutes added time was enough time to snatch a point.

F/T: Scunthorpe United 2 Walsall 1

I have to say that although I had a lovely time the result was gutting. The opposition were really beatable and we failed to capitalise on our opportunities. Still, we go again. Fingers crossed we find a balance between directness and effective penetration soon.

A special mention re: Neal Bishop. What a plank. Moaned all match and gave it loads at full time right in front of the away fans. I hope Scunny are proud to have such a iconic leader in their ranks. Tit.

By: Pete Sadler.

RESULTScunthorpe United 2 (Adelakun 51', McSheffrey 54') Walsall(Bradshaw 70')
AT: Glanford Park, Scunthorpe.
ATTENDANCE: 3,098 (301 Walsall).
REFEREE: Mr. Andy Davies, Hamphire.

Walsall: O'Donnell; Taylor, O'Connor, Downing, J.Chambers (Holden 8'); A.Chambers, Clifford     ; Grimes (Baxendale 41'     ), Forde (Morris 77'), Bradshaw, Manset

Subs not used: MacGillivray; Kinsella, Benning; Flanagan

Scunthorpe United: Olejnik, O'Neill     , Addison, Canavan, Williams, Hawkridge (Kee 68'     ), McAllister, Bishop     , Adelakun, McSheffrey      (Sparrow 90'), Madden (Myrie-Williams 87')

Subs not used: Weaver, Dawson, Taylor, Llera
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