We knew that this would be a hard game and it proved to be so! A couple of All Saints players have played for us before and it is a bit of a Walsall local derby, plus they beat us 5-1 in a friendly last season. After 4 clean sheets in a row we didn’t see this one coming! Unlike most of this season, we were sloppy first half in both defence and attack, whereas, All Saints were switched on and at us in every tackle, playing incisive football. They took the lead with a good finish after a few minutes, predictably from our former player Ash Turner. He then won a penalty which Ali Davis thought was harsh and everyone else thought was stonewall, I couldn’t see myself so I’ll go with the referee! As the half went on we started getting into the game, their keeper pulled off a fantastic save from Weideman, and Locke missed a good chance after some decent football. As we pushed to try to get back into the game we were hit on the break for 3-0.
Half time resulted in an inquest into what had happened, some strong words and a call to play as a team and work harder (any more clichés I can get in?). We came out and took the game to All Saints, this resulted in a goal from a corner by myself,(John Myatt). Boosted by the goal we were on top in the game but were still 3-1 down. We were helped when they had a player sent off for foul and abusive language. Following this we scored 2 more quick goals against a seemingly shell shocked All Saints. Andy Harris scored a swerving pile driver after good work from Weideman who had moved to centre forward. I then put a volley into the near post after Locke won the 2nd ball from a corner (I’ll let others describe it as no one will believe it, not even the guys who were there…)
There was then a slight levelling out of the game as we relaxed after completing the comeback and All Saints upped their game, albeit with 10 men.The defining moment of the game may well have been at 3-3 when slack marking allowed a header for All Saints at the far post, which there can be no doubt was rolling in, but an All Saints player then decided to help it along but was adjudged offside. I still think we may have come back again but it would have been a body blow. The killer goals then came when Coyne lobbed the keeper after more good work from Wiedeman and then finished it off running clear and finishing well past the keeper.
Two goals down, All Saints then came at us again in the last 5 minutes after nicking a goal on the break for 5-4. The final whistle was a sense of relief that we had dug ourselves out of a massive hole. But it was a brilliant 2nd half performance and I can’t ask any more from the guys, especially the guys in the squad who come along week in week out and don’t always get on but give us great support along with the loyal ‘fans’ on the side! On to Rowley next week! (Edit Neil Kovacs! I predicted this to be Match Of The Day but this surpassed even what I expected).