Posts Tagged ‘walsall’

Woeful in Walsall

14 February, 2009

img_1544_webThe downturn continues.  That’s nothing to do with the credit crunch.  It’s two games in a row that we’ve lost.  Once again, listening to the second half of the match through the eyes and ears of BBC Essex (ably assisted by the club’s Matt Hudson on this occasion), I was left to rue missed chances and hopes of yet another comeback after going a goal down.  It wasn’t to be and another goal sealed it for the Saddlers.  All credit to the commentary team for attempting to enthuse about a dreary game.  The fact that no cards were shown by the referee is a testament to this.  We now have to seek to secure our position against Southend next week.  Now there’s a match to relish!  It’s what we’ve been waiting for all season.  We have unfinished business from back in November.  That’s the game to turn things around and get back on the ladder towards the play-off places.

Game 08 – Walsall

15 November, 2008

img_1201_webAnother new boy started today, Lee Hills, and captain Dean Hammond was back in the team to add a bit of drive and enthusiasm in the centre of the park.  Unfortunately that’s about the sum total of the good news for this game.  Once again it wasn’t our worst performance by any stretch of the imagination but it was clear, to the fans anyway, that from the start the Us couldn’t cope with the away team’s tactics of closing us down with at least two players every time we got the ball.  It was a slow start to the game anyway and I think the autumn colours on the trees were moving faster than the action.   It wasn’t a surprise when Walsall got their opening goal against a static Us defence.

img_1207_webOn the team front it was a case of ringing the changes yet again.  Johnny White in central defence, Jacko back in midfield and a starting line-up that included 4 players who weren’t in the starting eleven for the last home league game when we thrashed Carlisle (just mentioning that match lifts my spirits a little, I just wish there were more).  Coyne managed an appearance midweek in the Essex Senior Cup against Aveley (wow!) but couldn’t fit a home league match into his busy schedule before jetting off to join the Australian national team.  What’s going on there?  We daren’t risk his fitness for international duty so we don’t give him a game?  To be fair we do have a fair crop of injuries to contend with at the moment and the squad has been far from settled since the beginning of the season.  It’s no wonder the lads have difficulty passing to each other – they havn’t a clue who is going to be on the end of a pass.  Actually since the Carlisle match they’ve forgotten how to do the most basic of things and it’s almost time to bring out the junior coaching manual – the one that starts with ‘this is the ball’.  Two things struck me about their performance today.  Why does White always bang the ball in the air up the right wing to no-one in particular?  he did every time he got the ball and we lost posssession every time.  Secondly, how many headers by our players actually went to another one of our payers?  Hardly any.  I think it’s about time they started practising ‘head tennis’ in training.  Get them used to finding a team mate with their noggin.

On the subject of away tactics it was probably the most blatant display of time wasting I’ve ever seen.  When their number 19 was about to be subbed twenty minutes before the end the first team coach (John Schofield) spoke to him cose to the halfway line (where the substitution was about to take place and while the fourth official was getting his numbers right on the display board) and sent him off towards the Us penalty area.  He sprinted about 30 yeards away, turned back and saw his number was up.  Then he trudged back to the substitution point.  I know it goes on when a team is in the lead, but it doesn’t make it right and this was so blatant I’m surprised the officials didn’t spot it.  Come to think of it there wasn’t a card shown in this game at all.  That’s how tame it was.

img_1212_webThe real business of the day never got started.  Where was the chanting? There was not a single bit of singing from the home fans throughout the whole game, unless you count booing as singing. True, there wasn’t anything to sing about, but it was a full half hour before I heard any singing – and that was the away fans who lasted about 10 seconds before sitting down and shutting up.  Something strange was happening in E8.  The back 4 rows were empty.  I’m not sure if it was a mass protest by the former Barside to stay away from one game, or if it turns out they are all juveniles after all and took advantage of the ‘kids for free’ offer to sit in the North stand.  Probably most likely that the stewards were trying to claim that as ‘sitting down’ territory.  Mind you it looked like the stewards were standing in the seating section and sitting on the steps.  Aren’t they supposed to set an example?

img_1203_webWell, today saw a first.  The first time the a ball has left the ground.  Five minutes into the second half, White, with his bandaged (damaged?) head, attempted yet another ‘hoof’ up the right wing and scooped it over E5.   What odds on a Yeates free kick reaching the A12?  On a positive note I have to admit that Colchester did spend most of the game in the Walsall half of the field.  It’s just that they had no idea what to do with the ball once they got there.  Too many crosses into the hands of the keeper, or beyond our own forwards – not that they would have known what to do if they had got it.  I was surprised to hear the BBC West Midlands radio commentator at the end giving his summary to the folks back home – “It was all Colchester” he said.  He saw the same game as us then.  But it doesn’t get you a result.

A full stadium is expected for the next game.  Sadly it’s the Under 19 international on Tuesday and not a home first team match.  We’ll find out what an atmosphere feels like.