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Club News

JANUARY 2013

28 January 2013

Saddlers in form...

THE NEW Year got under way in winning fashion for The Saddlers as Jamie Paterson's sweet strike accounted for Stevenage on New Year's Day.

Dean Smith's side worked hard to break down physical and well-organised opposition to deservedly claim maximum points.

We were soon back on home soil as Portsmouth were the visitors for a Friday evening encounter that was screened live on Sky Sports.

The Saddlers failed to disappoint on the national stage as we put in a very professional display to secure a 2-0 win.

Front-men, Will Grigg and Febian Brandy got their names on the scoresheet in a game which saw us in control for long periods.

A trip to Preston North End followed and we arrived at Deepdale bursting with confidence.

The home side had no answer to us, particularly in the opening period as we raced into a two-goal lead through Febian Brandy and a first goal for Paul Downing.

A wonder-strike from James Baxendale further increased our advantage and although we took our foot off the gas and allowed our hosts to pull a late goal back, this was a fantastic team performance with everyone playing their part.

After a mammoth effort from staff and volunteers to beat the winter weather and clear snow off the pitch, we were rewarded with another impressive display in our next game as we welcomed AFC Bournemouth.

The Cherries were on a long unbeaten League run that stretched back to October, but they found The Saddlers too hot to handle.

We opened the scoring through Sam Mantom before a penalty on the stroke of half-time doubled our advantage after Will Grigg was felled by David James and he stepped up to convert.

The visitors reduced the arrears early in the second period and then Febian Brandy was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but we clinched the points with a bizarre penalty when Eunan O'Kane picked the ball up inside the area thinking he had heard a whistle after Grigg was brought down just outside the area.

The referee hadn't given the free-kick but had no choice but to award a spot-kick and Grigg duly did the honours to confirm our second 3-1 win in a row and make it six wins from our last seven games.

We ended the month hoping to extend our perfect start to 2013 at a Colchester United side who had lost their last nine games in a row.

On a very heavy pitch, the game looked like petering out into a goalless draw until the home side took advantage of a lapse of concentration in defence to take the lead towards the end.

Then, with The Saddlers searching for an equaliser, they were able to make it 2-0 to give us a losing end to what had been an otherwise positive month.

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