Yesterday was the best match I have been to in 2016.
After setting myself the challenge to visit all the grounds in the football league (which I will write about later), I decided to start with a visit to the Proact Stadium to watch Walsall away against Chesterfield.
After the events of last Sunday with the departure of Sean O’Driscoll the match had the makings of a win for the Saddlers. It was a chance to regain their position in the promotion battle as they had not won a match in their last 6 league games.
Surprisingly my Dad and I arrived in good time, and as soon as we walked out to watch the players warm up you could feel the positive atmosphere. The sun was shining and everyone seemed very relaxed despite the eventful week.
They started well and you could see that this was a very different side to the team that played at home against Barnsley. It may have been my imagination but Romaine Sawyers played more confidently and like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. His skills and execution of passes that was missing last week had come back.
After 19 minutes, and a bit of a mix up between Neil Etheridge and James O’Connor, Walsall conceded an own goal. Later on twitter Etheridge explained what had happened, and it appears there may have been a slight bit of cheating from Chesterfield striker Lee Novak.
This little error was soon forgotten about when at the other end of the pitch the Spireites scored an own goal to make the game level at 1-1.
In the second half the Saddlers were kicking towards their fans. To be honest I can’t remember much of what happened in the second half before Sam Mantom scored in the 57th minute. I think this was due to the Saddlers taking the lead and the scrap that happened after his goal. At the time my dad and I were not too sure what had happened, all we know is there had been an altercation involving most of our team after Mantom’s goal celebrations. Looking at the highlights on the telly, one of the Chesterfield players got caught up in the celebrations by accident. This was due to the Walsall players grouping together and he just ended up in the middle of it. After this there was a big scene and Dion Donohue punched Jason Demetriou which led to Donohue quite rightly being sent off for violent conduct.
After the Spireites were down to ten men two further goals came for the Saddlers, a second for Mantom (75′) and one from Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila (71′).
All in all it was a good day out, and nice to have the feeling of a Walsall win this weekend.
We are still in 4th place in the league, but we have a game in hand and are only 3 points behind Wigan in 2nd.
Things are looking up, let’s hope that we will be able to show such positive fighting spirit on Tuesday night when the Saddlers are away to Fleetwood Town.