ON THIS DAY: Walsall 4 West Bromwich Albion 1 ON THIS DAY: Walsall 4 West Bromwich Albion 1

ON THIS DAY: Walsall 4 West Bromwich Albion 1

On this day in 2003, Walsall Football Club played host to West Bromwich Albion in both sides' opening Division One match of the season. Match highlights, and a brief match report are below.
On this day in 2003, Walsall Football Club played host to West Bromwich Albion in both sides' opening Division One match of the season. Match highlights, and a brief match report are below.





Tipped to make an instant return to the Premiership, Albion were down and out by halftime as Merson stole the show in front of a record crowd at Bescot Stadium.

West Brom began the brighter, enjoying the majority of possession and pinning Walsall back in their own half.

But despite losing defender Ian Roper to a facial injury after 10 minutes, the home side soon took a firm grip of the match.

They broke the deadlock on 18 minutes when Merson bagged his first of the afternoon.

It was a sweet finish from the former England midfielder, who left Russell Hoult clutching at thin air with a right-foot volley that flew into the top, left-hand corner of the net.

Merson then doubled his and Walsall's tally seven minutes before the break.

Joost Volmer, one of four Albion debutants, failed to clear the danger following a cross from the left, allowing the Saddlers skipper to drill the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.

The visitors, seeking an instant return to the Premiership after just one season in the top flight, then found themselves deeper in trouble.

With the halftime interval beckoning, Jorge Leitao tapped home from close range after Simon Osborn's shot had cannoned back off a post.

Any hope of an Albion comeback were extinguished within 12 minutes of the restart when Walsall claimed their fourth goal through former Wolves midfielder Steve Corica.

Wales international Jason Koumas pulled a goal back for Gary Megson's side, but it was scant consolation.

--
Walsall: Walker, Hay, Roper, Emblen, Bazeley, Osborn, Merson, Samways, Aranalde, Corica, Leitao

Subs: Kerr, Wrack, Matias, Birch, Oakes.

West Bromwich Albion: Hoult, Gregan, Sigurdsson, Volmer, Haas, O'Connor, Johnson, Koumas, Clement, Dichio, Hulse

Subs: Murphy, Wallwork, Dobie, Sakiri, Gilchrist.
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