Walsall v Colchester – Pre match thoughts 

Today is the first home match of Jon Whitney’s second reign as interim head coach.

It will be a big test for the Saddlers whose home form is what has let them down this season. 

Colchester are currently bottom of league one, but they won their last game away at Bradford.

Like my previous blog posts I don’t want to make a prediction about the result. To be honest my nerves ahead of this match are too much for me to think or hope of what the score will be.

Fleetwood v Walsall – Preview

  
Tonight Walsall face Fleetwood in a league match that has already been rearranged twice. 

It has been another positive week for the Saddlers after their 4-1 win at Chesterfield, and the news that James O’Connor has signed a new two year contact.

Looking at Fleetwood’s recent home form they have either won or drawn their past six games. 

If the Saddlers win tonight they will go up to third in the table, and level on points with Wigan.  That is unless they can win 9-0, which would take them to second.

I don’t want to make any match predictions, but this is a must win match for Walsall. 

Chesterfield 1-4 Walsall

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Chesterfield v Walsall – Photo taken by Rebecca Grant

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.

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Walsall team huddle before kick off  – Photo taken by Rebecca Grant

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.

Etheridge tweet

Neil Etheridge tweets about the incident where the Saddlers conceded an own goal

 

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.

Chesterfield v Walsall – Pre Match Thoughts

Today’s game is my second away trip of the season.  The first was Brentford in the  FA Cup.

After a busy morning getting my hair done I was not sure I would be able to make the trip.  But as I am writing this my dad and I are travelling up the motorway. 

It has been an interesting week for the Saddlers.  Sean O’Driscoll left the club, and we now have Jon Whitney stepping in as our interim head coach.

All YouTube posts and articles on the clubs website have been full of positive and motivational statements from Whitney.  So here’s hoping the team will have the faith in themselves restored. 

I don’t want to make any predictions today.  My only hope is that we get to the match on time, and the team show they want promotion as much as the fans do.

Sean O’Driscoll Leaves Walsall

o'driscoll

After only 16 games with the club Sean O’Driscoll and Walsall FC have parted company.  This news is something I was expecting maybe at the end of the season, but not now.

Although it is not nice to hear of someone losing their job, I am actually really excited to see if it makes a change to the team’s attitude.

Yesterday’s performance was so poor.  As I noted in my previous post Tom Bradshaw and Romaine Saywers did not play their usual standard football.

There has been a lot of talk on social media sites that O’Driscoll has been the one to affect the players passion on the pitch.  It seemed on many occasions he did not make the right changes to the team and often left out fan favourite Rico Henry.

I must note that the one thing I will miss about O’Driscoll is his articulate written pre match column in the programme.  Strangely I found his written word to be very motivational, but this obviously has not been able to transfer into the dressing room.

Hopefully our next match will feature a Saddlers who have revived their focus on gaining promotion.

Walsall 1 – 3 Barnsley

Walsall V Barnsley 3

The Saddlers warming up before the match – photo taken by Rebecca Grant

The day started in high spirits.  I was optimistic after it was announced yesterday that Jordy Hiwula was to join us for his second loan spell.  My Dad and I got to the ground in good timing, and I even treated myself to a Saddlers beanie hat.

Unfortunately the good start did not act as an indicator to how the rest of my day would pan out.

The Saddlers started strong in the first 10 minutes, and we could have been 2-0 up with efforts from Romaine Sawyers and Tom Bradshaw.

Then after 17 minutes of play Barnsley went into the lead with a goal from Ashley Fletcher, who is on loan to the club from Manchester United.

Bradshaw brought the Saddlers level at 1-1 with his first goal in three games.  Then there was a slight drama from the ref before half time, who had to be substituted due injury.

The second half, well if I am completely honest I don’t even want to write about it.  The only thing that is slightly worth a note is we managed to cope fairly well after Jordan Cook, who came on for Bradshaw, went off injured leaving the side down to 10 men.

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Jordan Cook going off injured, leaving Walsall out of subs and down to 10 men – photo taken by Rebecca Grant

 

Another questionable decision made was to give Sawyers man of the match.  For me both Andy Taylor and Adam Chambers ran their hearts out, so I would have given it to one of them.  Certainly not the player who helped concede the third goal, and really did not have his best game.

Although the result was not what we wanted, our position in the table is still looking strong for the playoffs.  The worry now is if the players and fans have the passion and belief to stay there.

This year at home it seems our star players have lost their spark.  Today I felt Bradshaw did not look fit, and Sawyers lacked conviction with his passes.  My only hope is that our away form will keeps us in with any chance of promotion.

 

 

Walsall v Barnsley – Predictions

There is nothing better than having two football matches in one week.

Well actually that is a lie, it could be better if you watch at least one good match within one week.  That is what I am hoping will happen today.

On Tuesday night the Saddlers faced Scunthorpe at home, which ended in a 0-0 draw.  It was hard to look at the positives from the game.  The one thing we did come away with is the wish of having another striker on the pitch.

That wish has come true with the loan signing and return of Jordy Hiwula.

So if he starts the match I predict a 2-0 win to Walsall, with Jordy getting one of those goals.

 

Burton v Walsall – Result

BurtonvWalsall

It looks like I was a bit over ambitious on my match prediction on a 3-1 win to the Saddlers.  The game ended in a 0-0 draw.

Not going to the game was absolute torture for me.  I have only been to one away match this season and usually I am quite happy with waiting for the alerts to come through on my phone.  It was completely different for this match.

The only thing I could do for the duration of the game was switch between refreshing my twitter news feed, to refreshing my BBC sport app, both whilst watching Sky Sports News.

The slightest mention of Walsall’s name, or even when it came up on the Sky Sports News feed to notify of half time my heart skipped a beat.

When the final result of the 0-0 draw came through I breathed a sigh of relief.  Going from the comments on Twitter not many of my fellow supporters are as happy me.

The lack of social media updates from the players also has me questioning what happened.  Usually they are the first to comment on their thoughts moving on to the next game.  But I suppose that’s what happens when it ends in stalemate.

 

Match of the weekend – Burton v Walsall

Walsall v Burton 2(Above image from The Daily Mail – Walsall V Burton 10/10/25)

Ok I may be biased but forget all of the other football fixtures that are taking place this weekend, the one to watch is Burton v Walsall.

Their last meeting saw a 2-0 win for the Saddlers.  The match featured a first professional goal for Liam Kinsella and a last minute penalty for their leading scorer Tom Bradshaw (both pictured above).

Burton are the surprise team of League One.  They currently sit comfortably (ish) at the top of the table with 63 points and 4 points clear of Wigan who are second place.  

Walsall who despite their critics have been in the playoff position

and above for most of the season.  The team along with 1800 of their away fans are all geared up for today’s game.

With the best away form in the league my prediction is a 3-1 Walsall win

 

First Post

This blog is something I have been wanting to start for ages and now here it is.

Football means well pretty much everything to me.  It was a hobby that I came across when I was around 5 years old.  This is the sport of watching the beautiful game, not playing it.  I tried that more than once and have failed epically.

As a supporter of the Saddlers I have been lucky enough to experience some historic matches in the clubs history.  It seems I have supported them in what I would consider a successful era.

Yes there have been lows, quite a lot of them.  But I would not have it any other way.  I am sure in future posts I will talk about them along with highs such as the first ever Wembley visit, and lets not forget Dean Keates goal to secure us the League Two Title.

As you have probably guessed there will be a lot of Saddlers chat on here, but I will be commenting on other stories and events that are happening in the world of football.

I have also set myself the challenge of visiting all the football grounds in the football league.  At the moment I am deciding on the timeframe I want to achieve this by.  I did initially think I could do them all by the end of next season but with going to Walsall games I think I was being a bit over confident.  So the target in achieving this is yet to to be confirmed.  Also I need to get my dad on board, as he is my football buddy and also the main chauffeur when we go to matches.

There are many other things football related I want to write about and tasks I want to set myself.  But for now I think I need to stop before I get too carried away.

So I am pleased to say…. let the football blogging commence.