Once again Walsall were dumped out of the Johnstones Paint Trophy in the first round by a team in the lower division in front of an all time record low gate at the Banks's Stadium. The attendance-just1,793-included 212 away fans from Chesterfield so barely 1,500 home fans bothered to turn up. This was despite there being discounted tickets, a warm evening and Walsall recently signing two new forwards. OK historically the early round of this cup competition produces a lower than usual gate for such a tie but the directors of Walsall FC must surely now ask themselves just why there is such apathy from the fans.
As for the game itself it was played out with hardly any atmosphere and Walsall fell behind as early as the 13th minute. The defence failed to spot a quickly taken throw in, a cross came over and Jordan Bowery headed home with Mannie Smith on the line failing to deal with the ball and watched it go into the net.
However within five minutes Saddlers levelled when Reuben Reid pounced and hit a superb shot into the top corner of the net to give Walsall a bit of hope. It didn't take Chesterfield long to pull ahead again though when Dean Morgan lashed home a shot that gave keeper Jonny Brain no chance.
The Walsall fans were hoping for a big improvement in the second half but it was very much the same pattern as the first with Saddlers gifting the visitors too much time and space. The only chink of light was towards the end when Matt Richards tried a shot that took a deflection and came back into play off a post. There was no way back for Walsall and it was a relief when the final whistle went. Perhaps the winners were those who stopped away. Result...Walsall 1 Chesterfield 2...and a visit to Wembley can wait for another year.......