In what turned out to be a pretty boring affair at the Bescot on Saturday the reds came away with a point against 2nd in the league Peterborough; which on considered reflection is not a bad point at all. I’m sure we ruined a few accumulators on Saturday with that result and we made one of the in form teams in the league look bang average. The only problem was we looked bang average too.
It is a good point in the grand scheme of things but I think the game was definitely there for the taking. The manager unwilling to take any tactical risks in the second half and the difference in mentality between the two halves was quite striking.
I will give credit to the resilience of the players in the first 45. In a game devoid of any real quality, the team did come out with a response to Tuesday nights hammering. There was a bit more formational structure and it seemed the players were more in tune with their role within the 11 and stuck to their individual jobs well. Again we didn’t sync up as nicely as we have in some patches this season but to come out and take the lead and then hold it into the half time break was great to see after the embarrassing first half collapse against Rotherham.
One of the defining moments in the game then game right after the break. Donnelan directing his header on goal from a corner that from my angle looked as if it was going to tuck inside the post- it was not to be as the ball bounced off the upright and in the few seconds it bounced around in the 6 yard area a red could not poke it home. The way Peterborough were playing to that point I think a second may have killed them off. It was not to be.
We then conceded a typical Walsall goal, a decent cross from the right volleyed at goal, the players connection not what he wanted but he did keep it down, bouncing off the turf over Gillespie and clipping off the underside of the bar before crossing the goal line. The goal seemed to come out of nowhere but the frustrating thing for me is that we are not making teams earn their goals against us. Something about the goals we are conceding just seem so preventable.
After that, fortune favoured the Saddlers, the Posh cruelly having what I feel would have been the game winning goal ruled offside. I’ll spare the linesman’s blushes by not including the freeze frame you have all probably seen but the player was clearly onside.
The game had been petering out at that point. The saddlers clearly deciding a point was enough. Time wasting from just after the hour mark and not really offering anything going forward, it seemed there had been a clear message not to lose this game- when that comes at the expense of not trying to win it though, it’s a very frustrating watch.
Zeli Ismail did almost nick it for the saddlers at the death. The Posh committing numbers forward left themselves open for the counter. The loanee on his home debut breaking away from inside our own half then beat two Posh defenders and found himself with room to shoot from about 15 yards out. All that was missing was the finish as he didn’t connect as cleanly as he would have liked, rolling the ball straight into the goalkeeper.
It might be time for two up top now. The need for a bit more experimentation and attacking variation quite evident in the second half. I would love to see Agyei and Roberts get a run out together. Baka for me did alright when he came on but I don’t think he has really shown that he offers anything that Roberts and Agyei don’t do arguably better than him.
A 5-2-1-2 would be my preference. The standard back 5 with Chambers and Edwards holding, Ozzy then slotted behind Roberts and Agyei. I doubt it will happen in the next game if at all but I bit more pace and numbers forward would be good to see, especially at home.
Much better than Tuesday but still a way off how I would like to see us play at home. COYR.