Last week I wrote about trying to stay positive heading into the new season; it didn’t take long for that slight bit of optimism to be washed out of me. Like everyone and their dog has been saying for months, we don’t have enough width, our strikers aren’t scoring enough or even being given the opportunity to get in behind the opponents defence and our bench is too shallow, made up of inexperienced youth… despite this I was still thinking we could maybe get something out the game.
We’d a great record of opening day fixtures without defeat, our opponents, though better on paper were full of brand new players who may not have gotten to grips with one another just yet and opening day comes with no form; a great time for an ‘upset’. I was foolish enough to convince myself that an opening day miracle may occur and even threw a fiver on a 3-0 Walsall win (50-1)…what a truly idiot bellend I am.
In fairness with the amount of money Bury have thrown around this off-season I thought we would likely struggle much more than we did in the opening exchanges. We were certainly second best but they weren’t exactly out-classing us. The only real moment of note for us in the first half was Gillespie’s penalty save which as least gave us something to cheer about in the opening exchanges;
As the game wore or it looked more and more obvious that we were going to struggle to impose ourselves on the game in any significant way. Our greatest chance of coming away with anything being if we could hold them to a goalless draw; keeping them at bay till half time was essential, and it typical ‘Walsall under Jon Whitney’ fashion we let Beckford of all people head them into the lead in first half stoppage time.
The second half was much more of the same. The need for a winger and some more creativity in the midfield being highlighted once again. People will point to SJ and AB needing to do more for the team, but I am actually starting to feel a bit sorry for them now. It seems like under JW whichever one starts (if they do not score) receives a rapturous cheers from the fans when their number is held up for substitution. Something the players themselves must surely hate- As this happened to Jackson once again Saturday I was left thinking ‘what else could he have actually done today?’ – hopeless long balls thrown vaguely in his direction, no one offering a cross for him to get onto the end to and no one but Ozzy in the middle seemingly having the vision to do anything but pass backwards. I’ve no particular love for Jackson but for him, Baka and likely Candlin, I feel they will be suffering the same fate week in week out at this rate – trying to create something out of nothing.
A midweek trip to Sheffield in the Cup now – a game that is usually always an exciting prospect given our recent results against them, but one I can only see going one way; prove. me. wrong… COYR