Blog: Opening Day Delight, Scholar Success & Season Expectations Blog: Opening Day Delight, Scholar Success & Season Expectations

Blog: Opening Day Delight, Scholar Success & Season Expectations

Here is our latest look at the ups and downs of Walsall FC.
Bescot Banter - Walsall FC News
Well, what a way to start the new campaign! Following a well-documented summer of change, the super Saddlers began the new season with a determined demolition of Hartlepool United.

Danny Johnson's debut hat-trick and Brandon Comley's well-taken goal were more than enough to dispose of the poor Pools as Paul Hartley's side offered almost nothing in the final third, with Hartley understandably unhappy at full-time.

It's not very often that everything comes together for the Saddlers. In fact, the Reds have a rather long history of shooting themselves in the foot as goal-scoring opportunities usually fall by the wayside before going on to gift the opposition a goal of their own later down the line.

But, on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Poundland, that simply wasn't the case as each and every player made an impact with the ongoing catering issues being the only real thing fans could complain about as their side kicked off the campaign in style.

Be it a clean sheet from stopper Owen Evans, an almost impenetrable performance from the backline, determined running from midfield man Isaac Hutchinson, or DJ's tremendous treble, to a man they were simply superb.

Whilst the season can't be won or lost on the opening day, and we'll take on much tougher opponents over the lengthy campaign, there is something to say for momentum, and the Saddlers have it in spades as positivity and belief are at record highs.

Along with the win came a welcome professional debut as second-year scholar Ronan Maher came on as a second-half substitute to become the latest in a long, prestigious line to make his way through the ranks and into the first team.

And, judging by his performances in pre-season and consistent displays in a struggling Under-18s side last year, Ronan has a bright future in the beautiful game, and we're hopeful he'll continue to be given time to shine in the first-team.

Returning to the team as a whole and attention now turns to this weekend's trip to Rodney Parade and a meeting with Head Coach Michael Flynn's former side, Newport County, a team the Saddlers haven't beaten since 1987.

The Exiles opened their campaign with a one-all draw with Sutton United as both sides failed to make enough of their plentiful goal-scoring opportunities as just six of their thirty collective efforts hit the target on a frustrating afternoon at Gander Green Lane.

And with that in mind, the Saddlers will once again have to be at their best if they are to build upon last weekend's welcome win as their hosts will no doubt be looking to get back to winning ways in front of their home faithful, not to mention the opportunity to get one over Flynn so early in the new campaign.

Whatever happens this weekend - whether the Reds net three more points or they're made to settle for less - the team has all the makings of a successful one and, whilst we'll be sure to keep our feet on the ground, we can't help but think of what might be.
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