Skip to main content


21:40 23rd March 2010


THE SADDLERS were reduced to ten men during the first half for the second game in a row as we succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at Southend United.

Some sloppy play by Clayton McDonald in the sixth minute let in Scott Vernon but as Rene Gilmartin made a smart save, the offside flag was raised to ease the pressure.

It was the home side who started with purpose and they forced a couple of early corners.

At the other end, Steve Jones did well to cut inside in the tenth minute only for his powerful drive to fly just over as The Saddlers looked to get a hold on the game.

It was Southend who took the lead in the 19th minute when Johnny Herd's long throw-in was headed out only as far as Franck Moussa whose first-time volley gave Gilmartin no chance as the ball flew into the net.

Just before the half-hour, Richard Taundry cut inside and with his new-found shooting confidence hit a left-footed effort just wide.

Moussa was given room to line up another strike that this time just missed the target.

There was a booking for Alex Nicholls shortly afterwards for a foul and moments later Walsall were reduced to ten men for the second game in a row when McDonald was dismissed for a strong challenge on Moussa mid-way inside the Walsall half.

It meant that Josh O'Keefe was sacrificed as Manny Smith came on into the heart of the back-line.

Smith made a contribution in an attacking sense as half-time approached when his header found Troy Deeney who failed to make a proper connection to the ball and his attempt was easily blocked.

Right on the stroke of half-time, a free-kick in a dangerous position was taken by Matt Richards whose excellent effort cannoned off the crossbar as Julian Gray headed the rebound over from a good position in front of goal.

There was an enforced change during the interval as Richards was replaced by Peter Till.

Six minutes into the second period and Southend doubled their advantage when an inviting cross from Moussa found the head of Scott Spencer whose glancing effort beat Gilmartin.

The goal gave the home side a shot in the arm and the lively Moussa made good progress into the penalty area only for his ball across the face of goal beat everyone.

In the next attack, Spencer was denied by an important block from The Saddlers' defence as the resulting corner was cleared without too many problems.

A corner was met by the head of Dwayne Mattis but his effort flashed just the wrong side of the near post as Chris Hutchings' side looked to find a way back into the game as the second half progressed.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Spencer linked up well with Moussa and his low strike was blocked by the feet of Gilmartin as Taundry cleared the loose ball.

There was a let-off for Walsall when Osei Sankofa came up from the back to see his header from a corner clip the crossbar as The Saddlers breathed a sigh of relief.

Mark Bradley replaced Mattis, who appeared to have taken a knock.

The referee booked Steve Jones for dissent on 80 minutes as The Saddlers struggled to find a way back into the game.

Another dangerous cross caused problems for Walsall as Moussa just failed to get a crucial touch at the far post. Then Anthony Grant cut inside before curling a shot inches over.

The third goal came in the final minute when Simon Francis' deep cross found Moussa in space and he headed the ball home to give Gilmartin no chance and make it a miserable night for the 107 Saddlers' supporters that made the long journey down to Essex.

    Data provided by Press Association


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