WALSALL HAVE 5 CHANCES AND SCORE 4
Walsall 4 - 0 Mansfield Town
Wright 51, Keates 62, 76, Gerrard 90+3.
Attendance: 5420 (app 700 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at Bescot Stadium
Mansfield Town fell to a 4-0 defeat at leaders Walsall this afternoon. That result looked most unlikely at half time when the score of 0-0 reflected the number of chances, as well as goals. But in the second half the home team somehow managed to score 4 times from 5 chances and the Stags were well beaten in the end.
The Stags made two changes from the Darlington game: Coke came in for the suspended Dawson, while Reet was surprisingly dropped allowing a start in for Callum Lloyd. With Lloyd slotting into midfield, the 4-5-1 formation was not to the taste of fans that I spoke to before the game. Walsall included Dean Keates in their side - Keates had played against the Stags for Kidderminster two seasons ago and missed a crucial penalty which would have put Mansfield 2-0 down in that game after Pilkington had brought down Beardsley, then playing for Kiddie. The Stags went on to win that game 3-1. Keates was to play a major part today scoring twice.
Before the game a moving speech by Matt Gadsby's wife was read out by the PA announcer. It received a rousing reception. The collection for Gadsby today raised £1756. Gadsby of course played for both sides and died while playing Hinckley Town 3 weeks ago.
Walsall 4 Stags 0
LEAGUE Two leaders Walsall maintained their perfect home League record as Mansfield Town crumbled to four second half goals at the Bescot Stadium this afternoon.
Stags more than matched the high-flying Saddlers with a gutsy first half display that ended 0-0.
But the home then stepped up a gear to race home with Stags well beaten and their Bescot Stadium record in the League now reads played six, won six, scored 16, conceded none.
Pretty impressive, but Mansfield know they had chances to put a dent in that record before the goals started flying in.
With a five man midfield, Stags outpassed the home side in the first 45 minutes and kept the crowd very quiet, Callum lloyd having the best chnace but firing over.
But home keeper Clayton Ince made two crucial saves after the break as the Saddlers set a new club record for six consecutive home clean sheets.
He kept out a goalbound Lloyd shot before Mark Wright broke through on 51 minutes and then superbly saved an Alan Sheehan free kick at 1-0 before Dean Keates grabbed the home side's second goal in 11 minutes, Stags keeper Jason White at fault, to leave Mansfield a mountain to climb.
Even then Danny Reet went very close with a shot just wide of the far post. But Keates' second goal on 76 minutes ended any hopes of a Mansfield comeback and Anthony Gerrard rubbed salt in the wounds with their fourth in stoppage time.
Stags made two changes from the midweek win over Darlington with Reet dropped to the bench and Stephen Dawson serving a one game ban for picking up five cautions.
Coke came into central midfield as did Lloyd, making his first start of the season.
That left the tireless Barker to plough a lone furrow up front.
Mansfield made a steady start, passing the ball well and Ince had to gather a Barker header on four minutes before the incoming Lloyd could get a vital touch.
Ince then easily caught Hamshaw's first corner for the visitors on nine minutes.
Wasall's first threat came two minutes later as White raced to the right of his goal to beat Butler to the ball. But as the two dived in the ball ran loose and, with White back peddling, Butler floated the ball into the danger zone with White out of position. But, thankfully for Mansfield, Sheehan was there to head away for the corner.
White dived onto a dangerous low cross from Butler after a cutting pass from Keates sent him into the box.
But on 17 minutes Stags almost went ahead. Jelleyman's over hit cross reached Hamshaw on the far by-line. He chipped back across goal, Ince got a hand away to Lloyd who from five yards could only volley over what was a very difficult chance.
Taylor was wide of the mark from distance for the home side soon after.
Sheehan saw the first yellow card of the game on 28 for his second foul in a few minutes, this time upending Wright.
The home side enjoyed a spell of pressure which saw the visitors forced to clear a corner and a dangerous Keates free kick into the box.
Stags survived a third home corner in stoppage time but reached the halfway stage at 0-0 and very pleased with their first half display.
Pead replaced Sam for the second half as the Saddlers matched Mansfield's 4-5-1 formation.
Keates curled a free kick straight into the arms of White on 49 minutes to the groan of the home supporters, a few of whom had booed at half time.
On 50 minutes Lloyd again came close to breaking the deadlock as Barker superbly controlled John-Baptiste's high ball forward before cueing up Lloyd for a low shot that Ince saved to his right.
Seconds later White was in the way of a Fox drive from outside the box.
But it was the home side who finally broke through in that thrilling 51st minute.
Keates fed Pead into the left of the box and he only had White to beat. The keeper did well to thrust out a hand to keep it out, but Wright was on hand to find the empty net as the ball flew loose.
Ince produced a superb save on 58 minutes to keep Walsall ahead as he got across full length to his left to keep out a Sheehan 20 yard free kick that looked certain to curl low just inside the upright.
And from the resulting corner Barker sent a glancing header wide.
Stags threw on Reet for Lloyd on 58 as they went in search of a goal and Ince drew huge applause with a spectacular catch to take a Hamshaw cross out the air in acrobatic fashion.
But disaster struck for Mansfield on 62 after they had conceded a free kick just outside the box in a central position.
Keates got the ball on target but, having got there, keeper White somehow let the ball pass under his body and squirm into the net.
Reet quickly had a chance to pull one back as a flick on found him on the left of the box. But he bundled his finish wide of the far post.
Stags immediately threw on Arnold for Sheehan, Arnold playing wide right, Hamshaw going to wide left and Jelleyman dropping to left back.
Jelleyman just got enough into a last ditch challenge as Butler looked set to outpace him to a through ball.
Peed and Buxton were booked after an angry flare-up after the Walsall man had sat on the ball with Buxton trying to win it.
Arnold dragged a shot wide after a one-two with John-Baptiste as Mansfield continued to look for a way back.
But it was all over on 76 minutes as Keates bagged his second goal of the afternoon. Wright sent over a long cross from the right and Keates executed a textbook power header from 10 yards out to give White no chance.
The first half sunshine was replaced by showers and then torrential rain as we entered the last 10 minutes with Bedeau replacing Wright.
Jelleyman pumped in a superb cross from wide on the left which both the heads of Reet and Barker were agonisingly close to connecting with.
Hjelde was booked for fouling Butler four minutes from time.
Ince had little trouble keeping hold of a low Reet shot.
But it was the home wide who finished on top with two corners.
And they were rewarded with another goal in stoppage time with almost the last kick of the game.
Walsall won a free kick on the right hand corner of the penalty area which Keates whipped into a crowd of players in the six yard box where Gerrard got the all-important touch past White to cap a miserable afternoon for the visitors.
A collection held for the family of the late Matt Gadsby, the former Stgs and Walsall defender who died during a recent game, raised over £1,000.
Saddlers 4 Stags 0
By Rev. H Streete - Ender
"Top of the league - You're having a laugh" taunted the visiting Mansfield Town support. Right on both counts. The education system up north has obviously improved since we last met. Saddlers shove 4 past The Stags without reply.
I will admit to being a tad concerned prior to this fixture. Mansfield without an away win, Saddlers undefeated at home surely meant the God's of fate had this chalked down as an away victory. Fortunately a brace from Keates and one apiece for Wright and Gerrard were enough to see off the Stags who failed to put on a performance their excellent travelling support deserved.
Money's side were as we have come to expect with Roper and Gerrard his central defensive partnership of choice.
Both teams started off fairly brightly but both were guilty of lacking quality in the final third. Both looked to attack but ended up cancelling each other out with chances created at a premium.
The Stags possibly shaded an uneventful first half as they looked to play creative passing football and they should have taken the lead with a quarter of an hour on the clock. A cross from the left flank had Ince in a bit of a flap. He managed to successfully palm it into the path of Lloyd who, incredibly, sliced it over the bar from 3 yards with the goal gaping. Had that gone in it could well have been a different story.
The only real chance for Saddlers in a disappointing first half fell to Taylor who drove wide from the edge of the box following excellent work by Butler.
After such a disappointing first half Richard Money earned his dosh taking off the far from impressive Hector Sam (is he really a professional footballer?) replacing him with Craig Pead. This unusual substitution certainly paid dividends. Pead slotted in between Butler and the midfield and created absolute havoc. With his first real contribution Saddlers took the lead.
Excellent interplay between Butler and Keates released Pead who shot at goal. The visiting keeper parried his effort into the path of onrushing Wright who converted in front of the Alsop.
Mansfield almost replied minutes later and only the outstretched branch like arm of Clayton Ince kept out a free kick heading towards the bottom corner. Saddlers then began to take control.
Walsall extended their lead following an almighty blunder by visiting keeper White. A tame free kick from Keates was on target and somehow White contrived to allow it roll under his body and trickle over the line to gift wrap Saddlers 3 points.
Mansfield's heads dropped and Saddlers took good advantage. The best goal of the game came on 76 minutes. Fantastic wing wizard skills from Mark Wright saw him beat two defenders and put in the most delicious cross for Keates to head home from 10 yards.
As injury time approached and the rain lashed down (what is the point of having a roof on the Alsop stand - the architect obviously had a warped sense of humour) Keates swung in a free kick towards the onrushing Gerrard who lashed home a first time volley with venom into the roof of the net.
In the end it was a comfortable victory for Saddlers although no-one could have expected the goal fest that came after both teams cancelled each other out during the first period.
The match sponsors man of the match was given to Dean Keates. No-one really shone during the match as most players (Gerrard apart) put in decent performances. Keates was guilty of some wayward passing during the first half whilst Gerrard was at sixes and sevens.
Butler however was awesome. His running off the ball, hold up and link up play fantastic so he gets my vote.
Despite suffering a heavy defeat Mansfield Town fans can console themselves with the fact their players have the best surnames in the league. Jelleyman and Dairylea indeed!(sommat like that anyway). How could they possibly expect to win?
THE SADDLERS' patience paid off as four second half goals gave us a commanding 4-0 victory over Mansfield Town to maintain our position at the top of League Two.
With ten minutes on the clock, Martin Butler did well to win a race for the ball with the 'keeper before crossing from the by-line as the visitors headed clear in front of goal. The resulting corner carried too much weight for Ian Roper who made a purposef ul run into the danger zone.
Dean Keates threaded a neat ball through to Butler shortly afterwards and his low ball across was claimed by Jason White in The Stags' goal.
The visitors went close just past the quarter-hour mark when a teasing cross from the right found its way beyond Clayton Ince's out-stretched arm to find Callum Lloyd at the far post and he fired over from a tight angle.
A sharp move by The Saddlers saw Butler chase a long ball forward to find Daniel Fox who in turn linked up with Keates and he teed up Kris Taylor who fired over from distance.
Real goalscoring opportunities were few and far between at either end as the half wore on, with Walsall not yet firing on all cylinders against hard-working opposition.
A nice ball with the outside of the foot by Michael Dobson found Taylor in space out wide on the left, but his cross in search of Butler was gathered by the alert White as the half ended goalless.
There was a substitution at half-time as Craig Pead replaced Hector Sam.
The first chance of the second period fell to Mansfield as a break away saw Lloyd's low shot spilled by Ince, but Roper was on hand to clear the danger.
There was a similar incident at the other end moments later as Fox's low strike was almost spilled by White into the path of Butler but the 'keeper managed to hold on under pressure.
The Saddlers' opening goal soon came as some good link-up play just outside the area saw Pead find space inside the box and his effort was pushed away by White only into the path of Wright who duly headed home.
With 57 minutes on the clock, Dobson conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position right on the edge of the area which produced a fine save by Ince as he dived low to his left to turn the ball around the post.
Some shirt-pulling on Butler just past the hour gave The Saddlers a free-kick which Keates managed to curl around the wall and the ball squirmed under the body of the 'keeper on the greasy surface and into the net to double our advantage.
It was an unfortunate goal for the visitors to concede and appeared to knock the stuffing out of them, although immediately after the restart they almost capitalised upon a slight error by Ince who was caught in no mans land, but the panic soon ended as the referee blew for a foul against The Stags.
Danny Reet dragged a shot wide for Mansfield on 64 minutes after getting the better of Chris Westwood before Pead and Jake Buxton were both booked for an altercation deep inside the Mansfield half.
Some slick passing by Richard Money's side led to the third goal with 15 minutes left as an inviting ball in from the right by Mark Wright saw Keates guide a header home.
There were a couple of changes as Fox and Wright both left the field to standing ovations to be replaced by Ishmel Demontagnac and Tony Bedeau respectively.
With time running out, a dangerous ball in from the left skidded away from Stags' skipper, Richard Barker right in front of goal and landed harmlessly wide. Then Matthew Hamshaw tried his luck with a low strike that Ince did well to gather as the rain lashed down.
Demontagnac looked lively and his trickery ended with an inviting low cross from the by-line in the last minute that White and Jon Olav Hjelde had to scramble clear with Butler lurking with intent just behind them.
In injury time at the end, The Saddlers won a free-kick for handball on the edge of the area and Keates drilled a low ball into the danger zone which was turned home from close range by Gerrard to complete the scoring and give The Saddlers another convincing home win to maintain our position at the top of the table.
Sunday 01 October 2006
Walsall vs Mansfield - Just Like Watching Brazil
neilr @ 8:39 am Sunday 01 October 2006
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Of course, you could have a report full of footballing cliches. You know, game of two halves, earning the right to play, etc, but, instead, we'll leave it as manager Richard Money passed another test yesterday, in how to change things at half time.
Back into the 11 came Roper for Scott ZiDann, as Money decided to give the youngster a rest, and Sam for Bedeau, leaving what seem to be DDs preferred starting XI.
Mansfield's intentions were obvious from the start, as they lined up in a 4 5 1, designed to try and wrest any midfield control from the home side, or at least prevent chances being made. For the first forty five minutes, they certainly succeeded in that. With them playing a very cautious game and the Saddlers defending superbly as a unit (the number of times the visitors had possession, only to have to end up passing back to the 'keeper was very noticable), neither side looked like making a break through, as the strikers were starved of decent possession.
The home back four looked extremely comfortable, except for a couple of occasions when Roper and, notably, Gerrard, lost their footing. We looked as punchless, however, as our best moves all seemed to end up putting Mark Wright into good positions and he was having one of his less effective halves.
The talk in the F2G at half time was all about how DD was going to change things. Most seemed to prefer a change in the personnel, with Bedeau for Wright being the most widely held opinion. Certainly, a lot of managers would have been tempted to put more attacking players on, but not Money. As he said in his post match interview, he decided to match Mansfield's five in the middle and bank on the fact that he was sure his players could out pass their opponents. On came Craig Pead for Hector Sam.
It worked almost immediately. Dobson and Keates started to get more time on the ball and they both blossomed. Wright started to pay with more confidence and get past his man and Pead himself looked all the time to make a better link with the now lone striker.
Mansfield still had the first chance of the half (and almost the match) however, when Ince failed to hold a long range drive, but Roper was first to react. Butler then came close to capitalising on a similar incident at the other end.
After 5 minutes, however, Pead won the ball in the Mansfield half, Butler was slipped in on the right hand side of the area, his pull back found Pead, who hit a tremendous left foot drive, which goalkeeper White could only parry into the path of Mark Wright, who gleefully volleyed home.
The game now started to open out, as the visitors had to show more ambition and Walsall were indebted to Ince another ten or so minutes in, when he went full length to tip a goal bound free kick around the post.
Shortly afterwards, however, Hjelde (not for the first time) gave away a free kick for shirt pulling on Butler, towards the right of the Mansfield penalty area. Keates curled it around the end of the wall and White got there, only to allow the shot to squirm under his body. 2 - 0 and surely safe.
Ince had his weekly “walk about” from one cross, but the ref blew up for a foul in the end and top scorer Hamshaw dragged a shot wide, but Mansfield now looked blown.
With a quarter of an hour to go, some superbly slick passing put Mark Wright in the clear and he produced a cross of sublime quality to find Keates, whose glancing header found the far corner for his fifth of the season and to spark off the chants of “It's just like watching Brazil".
On came Bedeau and Demontagnac to replace Fox and Wright, both to look very effective. The dangerous Hamshaw produced another long range effort which Ince did well with, but the scoring was completed by the Saddlers.
Mansfield gave away a clear hand ball on the very edge of the left hand side of their area. Keates, not unaturally, smashed it in low and hard, looking for his hat trick, but Anthony Gerrard got a foot to it to smash it into the roof of the net.
MoM? Keates got the sponsors award for an all action second half and two goals, but Dobson, Butler and Westwood couldn't have been far behind, as was Pead for his 45 minutes. My vote, however, would probably go to DD for an inspired tactical sustitution.
The only downside was the element in the lower F2G who chanted all through the announcement when they read out the letter of thanks from Matt Gadsby's widow. Perhaps they ought to wash their ears out and be more aware of what's going on.