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22:06 24th November 2009


THE SADDLERS swept aside Oldham Athletic with a convincing 3-0 victory at the Banks's Stadium to continue our recent good form.

There was an early booking for Josh O'Keefe in his first start of the season as he brought down Danny Whitaker with a late challenge.

With five minutes on the clock, Steve Jones was off target with his strike as Walsall looked to make a positive start.

A handball by Latics' skipper, Sean Gregan presented Matt Richards with a free-kick on the right that he curled invitingly to the far post but the ball was headed clear.

At the other end, The Saddlers had to work hard to clear Whitaker's dangerous centre before a pacy break out of defnce by Lee Hills saw him deliver an inviting low cross that found its way over to Deane Smalley on the far side. He struck the ball sweetly but it flew narrowly wide with Clayton Ince beaten.

The opening goal arrived on 19 minutes as Darren Byfield did well to hold off the attentions of Reuben Hazell to cross to the far post where Troy Deeney found space to poke the ball home.

Richards and Jones combined shortly afterwards on the left as Jones whipped in a cross for Deeney whose volley into the ground bounced up and had to be tipped over by Darryl Flahavan.

After Mark Hughes was booked for Walsall, the visitors were reduced to ten men in the 42nd minute as Hills was given a straight red for a sickening challenge on Jones near the touchline. It left Jones in need of treatment, but thankfully he was okay to continue despite retuning to the field somewhat gingerly.

In stoppage time at the end of the half, Jones made Oldham pay with the second goal as Deeney played him through before he coolly slotted past the advancing 'keeper.


Walsall started the second period in the same vein as they ended the first by putting the visitors under pressure and we almost increased our lead within seconds of the restart only for Flahavan to get back and gather the ball.

Some more tricky play by former Latics man, Byfield ended with him pulling the ball back from the by-line where Kelvin Lomax was on hand to clear the danger.

On 71 minutes Netan Sansara did well to win the ball from Keigan Parker before finding Deeney in space in the middle. He turned sharply before feeding Byfield who twisted and turned but couldn't play his strike partner back in.

There was a booking for Sansara for a shirt pull on Joe Colbeck as he looked to break away.

The Saddlers made it 3-0 with ten minutes to go when Deeney produced a great first touch from Mark Bradley's ball and this allowed him to beat Flahavan and fire home.

Oldham looked for a way back in the game and Parker showed a clean pair of heels on for his strike to be blocked by Ince.

Byfield was replaced by Sam Parkin just before Colbeck rattled the crossbar for The Latics with a header.

A double change with five minutes to go saw Peter Till replace Steve Jones and Alex Nicholls come on for Deeney.

The last action saw Colbeck beat the offisde trap only for his low ball across the face of goal evade everyone.

In the end it mattered not as we increased our unbeaten run and make it three home wins in a row.


PHOTOS: David Linney Photography

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.