New Year...Old Problems
2nd January 2011
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Walsall returned to match action following recent postponed games with Notts County providing the opposition at the Banks's Stadium. It had been 41 days since Walsall supporters had seen a home game and it was hoped that the team would build on their last game-an unexpected 1-0 win at Charlton to wish their supporters a Happy New Year. But by the 16th minute The Saddlers found themselves two goals down and chants for the head of manager Chris Hutchings resurfaced all over again.

There was a strong hint of harshness  for  Notts County's opening goal on 9 minutes. Craig Westcarr  looked yards offside when he accepted a pass but his shot from 18 yards should have been saved by Jonny Brain in the Walsall net but he allowed it to slip through. Just seven minutes later the visitors increased their lead when Lee Miller had space and time at the far post to nod home.

On 19 minutes Jon Harley hit a low shot that just went wide of the post and we had to wait untill the 24th minute for Walsall's first real noteworthy attempt on goal when winger Steve Jones forced keeper Rob Burch to beat away his shot for a corner. Most of the first half belonged to County and four minutes before the break  Brain had to push away  a goalbound shot from Thomas Ince so not for the first time this season Walsall's player and manager headed down the tunnel to a chorus of boos and catcalls.

There was no apparent reaction from the half time team talk and just nine minutes into the second half Notts got their third goal which killed off any remote chance the sorry Saddlers had of getting back into the game. Following a breakaway, Westcarr found Alan Judge. His effort was blocked by Brain and from the resultant corner Krystian Pearce headed home unmarked.

The remainder of the game was played out with the visitors in the main showing the greatest urgency and although Walsall introduced substitutes Jon Macken and Rueben Reid it was to no effect and in the latter stages the fed up Walsall supporters gave out ironic cheers when the strung two passes together or if Jon Brain actually caught a ball. Such was the frustrations of an afternoon which suggested relegation is almost a certainty as the team returned to the bottom of the table. 



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