Scotia Smith's match report...
On a cold November afternoon, Walsall faced a crucial league match against Southend. Having lost their last two games, Walsall needed some points against opponents who were up the opposite end of the table and on a winning run……
The game started with both sides looking for openings and trying to keep possession. It was Makris of Walsall who went closest to scoring early on when he flicked a corner against the outside of the post.
At this point, Oztumer was dominating play but in the 15th minute, he was brutally fouled. The Southend player was rightly booked but ‘E’ was never quite the same after that.
Southend then took over and Etheridge had to make his usual selection of great saves to keep us level. One tip over the bar was truly world class! Wow!
Walsall made a change at half time, bringing on Preston for Toner at the back. I think this was to win some headers against Southend’s tall forward, Ranger. Speaking of Ranger, he was clean through on goal in the 59th minute only for Preston to appear from nowhere and perform a perfect slide tackle. Phew!
Walsall then brought Bakayoko on for Makris and when Jackson came on for Oztumer, things really started to swing in their favour. There were shots for Morris and Jackson and a brilliant run from McCarthy that almost led to a goal.
However, it was not to be and both sides took a point home. Man of the match, Laird, was involved in some argy-bargy at the end with a Southend player but the manager just called it ‘a bit of handbags’ in the press conference afterwards - I’m not quite sure what that means…but anyway, it’s Sheffield United away up next for ‘The Super Saddlers’ on Tuesday night. UTS!!