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Bescot Banter: Walsall starting to build momentum

After struggling for consistent form over the opening months of the 2021/22 campaign, the Saddlers have well and truly found their feet after going through the month of October without defeat.

SPORT COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 30/10/2021..Sutton United FC V Walsall FC.  W: Matthew Taylor.
SPORT COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 30/10/2021..Sutton United FC V Walsall FC. W: Matthew Taylor.

Adding to an EFL Trophy bonus point triumph over Northampton Town, Matthew Taylor's side won three and drew three of their six League Two outings, and were able to move to within a point of the top-half of the table, just three off the coveted Play-Off places.

The Saddlers went into the month on the back of a duo of defeats, to Newport County and Bristol Rovers respectively, and looked a million miles from the team Taylor had hoped to have assembled during his extensive summer overhaul.

Devoid of direction and disrupted by injuries, the pre-October Saddlers seemed to be stuck in an ultimately downward spiral, with the odd draw and infrequent win being dwarfed by far too many defeats.

With goal-scoring opportunities falling by the wayside and defensive errors playing a major role in most matchdays, the faithful would have been forgiven for experiencing flashbacks to the previous campaign as their team appeared incapable of dragging itself away from danger.

Although relegation was eventually avoided, there were plenty of lessons to be learned last summer and, despite their slow start, it appears the current crop have done well in school and seem to be heading towards the top of the class.

Last weekend's win over Sutton United gave us another fine example of the new-look Reds. With neither side able to break the deadlock, the match could so easily have gone away from the Saddlers, in fact there are many examples of games doing just that so far this season.

However, with sixty-six minutes on the clock, and after being on the field of play for just eight minutes, up stepped on-loan Leicester City winger Tyrese Shade, with the hot prospect continuing his fan-pleasing spell of form.

With a foul occurring around six yards outside the area, the short-term Saddler ignored the idea of placing a cross into the box and unleashed a low, curling effort beyond goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis and into the back of the net.

Tyrese, along with fellow loanees Carl Rushworth, Rollin Menayese, Kieran Phillips, and George Miller, has really made the most of his time in WS1, and whilst the goals aren't exactly free flowing, he is another example of the level of talent which is currently sitting unused in academies up and down the country.

Whilst the prospect of Tyrese and the rest returning to their parent clubs in January gives us sleepless nights, the knowledge that there are so many underutilised players just waiting to make their mark gives us hope that if the club is unable to retain their current loanees services there will be many others more than happy to switch to the Saddlers.

With the games continuing to arrive at a rapid rate of knots, the Saddlers' next outing sees them take on National League side King's Lynn Town in the First Round of this season's FA Cup. With the team recently struggling to make an impact upon the latter stages of the world's oldest domestic cup competition, we'd welcome the distraction of a cup run.

However, games like this should never be taken lightly and, with our history of falling at the first hurdle fresh in our minds, we'll have to wait and see whether the team will begin to lay the foundations for another unbeaten month.

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