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Bescot Banter: Unbeaten run comes to an end

Walsall's unbeaten run came to an end in midweek as League Two table-toppers Forest Green Rovers joined their hosts in the Second Round of the EFL Trophy.

Matt Taylor.
Matt Taylor.

Heading into the match on the back of a narrow yet comfortable one-nil win over King's Lynn Town in the First Round of the FA Cup, the Saddlers were riding the wave of an eight game unbeaten run, but were largely unimpressive during a night to forget in WS1.

Despite creating an effort on goal during the opening few minutes of the contest, the Saddlers went on to concede the first goal of the game after fifteen minutes of play, before falling further behind during the dying stages of the second-half.

Making several changes from the team which had dealt with King's Lynn at the weekend, Matthew Taylor's side failed to emulate even their least impressive winning run performance, as goals from Mathew Stevens and Jake Young saw Forest Green take over from the Saddlers at the top of the group.

Although they'd already secured a place in the next round before kick-off, the result will have at least some impact as the winner of the group can rest assured that they'll be drawn at home in the Second Round, whilst group runners-up will be faced with an away trip.

Given the level of apathy for the tournament, something which is often evidenced by the low attendances and generally decreased buzz ahead of kick-off, a potential away trip to one of our southern neighbours isn't likely to result in an all-time-high faithful following.

However, as many of the Premier League and Championship Under-21s have already exited the tournament, there is some hope that the final stages of the competition can return to the one which saw so many fans make the trip to our nation's capital and not the one which it has sadly become.

Probably the biggest positive to arise from the game was the overall display of recent signing Otis Khan. Making his debut after warming the bench for the first few weeks of his stay, the former Mansfield man was calm and creative and will be a welcome addition to the team if he can build upon the display.

Moving on to off the field matters, and a brief look at last Monday's Fans Forum, which saw Walsall fans and officials meet to discuss various topics during an enjoyable evening in the Stadium Suite.

Although there were few truly groundbreaking revelations, news of the board's desire to make some of the current loanee's stays permanent, along with the building of a scouting system, and continued search for investment will go a long way to appeasing even the club's more vocal critics.

Despite many of the answers being just what you'd expect from this type of event, well thought through and positive in nature, we welcome the club's continued efforts to connect with its fanbase and hope evenings such as this can become something of a regular fixture as time goes by.

Whether on the pitch or in the boardroom there appears to be plenty of progress being made and, although there may be the odd bump in the road along the way, we're definitely heading in the right direction.

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