This time last week Walsall Manor’s A+E department would have been providing extensive treatment for the snapped-off arm of anyone willing to offer two draws from the visits to Crawley and Tranmere, writes Walsall FC blogger Mark Jones.
In typical Saddlers fashion after one of our worst-ever performances (Scunthorpe) and our worst-ever results (Lincoln) we managed to suddenly wake up and start playing as if September had never ended.
Indeed the only real negative from the trips to Sussex and the Wirral was that we didn’t take the six points we fully deserved.
Clearly the returns of Andy Taylor, Will Grigg and Sam Mantom plus the loan signing of keeper Aaron McCarey have given us better options; but for me the biggest factor has been the abandonment of the two holding midfielder system that never really worked, was becoming increasingly negative and we’d never used when we were playing well early on anyway.
Another positive has been the long-awaited emergence of Febian Brandy as another striking option. There’s little doubt that Feb would’ve notched the winner had he not been cynically brought down late on at Broadfield on Saturday.
Speaking of Crawley, I went there really wanting to dislike them for no other reason than they seemed to be typical jumped-up Southerners who’d spent their way out of their non-league anonymity.
In actual fact they were really welcoming. We got to park for nothing, reasonably priced alcohol, friendly stewards and even the offer of free chips at the end of the match. It was the kind of awayday that makes you remember why you go to football in the first place and exactly what I needed after the nightmare of four days earlier.
Of course it would be wrong to suggest we are out of the woods yet, it is now 13 games without a win and next week the FA Cup (and JPT) will carry on without us.
Bescot has become a bit of a graveyard recently, in more ways than one, so the visit of Hartlepool on Saturday takes on a massive significance. A new signing before the close of the loan market window wouldn’t go amiss either.
Finally I must congratulate our old boy Troy Deeney for the way he has turned things around. He knows what a dreadful mistake he made but deserves a lot of credit for trying to do something about it. Last Saturday was certainly a positive.
Once a Saddler, always a Saddler.