What do a Sunderland fan and a Walsall supporter say to each other that hasn’t already been said? That was my worry in having to do this article twice in the space of a week. Thankfully, our visit to the West Midlands last weekend ensured that there’s plenty to talk about!
Bescot Banter provided us with the opposition view last weekend and they’re back again as we look ahead to the FA Cup Second Round. We had a quick catch up on what the Walsall view of the game was, their opinion on Max Power’s red card and whether or not Dean Keates will ring the changes for the cup tie.
Now let’s hope this doesn’t go to a replay because I don’t think me and the folks at Bescot Banter can keep thinking of things to talk about. Fair enough, last Saturday gave us a interesting game but potentially having to follow up on a less than intense 1-1 draw doesn’t really bear thinking about.
RR: What an action-packed game! What were your thoughts on the match - did you think a draw was fair in the end?
BB: We would have certainly have taken a draw heading into kick-off. However, after going two goals ahead within just seven minutes of the second half getting underway, we can’t help but feel a little disappointed to finish the match with just one point to show for it.
All-in-all the result was a fair one. Sunderland looked dangerous when in attack, especially during the opening quarter of the match, and you were no doubt dented by the dismissal of Max Power.
The match produced plenty for both sides to both be happy with and to work on.
RR: As you touched on there, the major talking point was Max Power’s sending off. I thought the referee got it wrong and was glad to see it rescinded. How did you feel about the incident?
BB: On first viewing, we thought it was a red card, but much of that can be put down to the reaction of our fellow fans at that moment in time. After seeing it several times since though, it clearly wasn’t deserving of a red card and was far more of fifty-fifty full-blooded challenge which we’d all like to see remain in the game.
Thankfully the FA acted swiftly following the appeal and correctly wiped away the match officials’ error.
RR: Do you think throwing away the result last Saturday could have a serious effect on the morale of the Walsall squad, especially given your recent form?
BB: Without a doubt the draw will have knocked the lads’ confidence, especially in the few days following the match, but the manager and his backroom team will have reminded them that every point counts and to remain focused on the positives.
Heading into the tie we were expected to taste defeat with no-one really fancying us to take anything, so to have secured a point has to be seen as a positive.
RR: I’m expecting Jack Ross to make one or two changes, especially given the intensity of not just last Saturday but our game in midweek against Barnsley. Will Dean Keates be rotating or can we expect a similar lineup?
BB: We wouldn’t usually expect to see too many changes from match to match as the manager is well aware that it’s all too easy to upset the balance of a side. But given our less-than-stellar performance during the midweek defeat to Portsmouth and our overall run of form, we could well see a couple of fresh faces rotated into the starting line-up.
Top-scorer Andy Cook should be back among the starters after being named on the bench against Pompey.
RR: How do you see the game going this time around, confident of a win?
BB: I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about the result. As mentioned earlier, we’re in a poor run of form at the moment, one win in six all-competition outings, and will need to return to the form produced during the opening weeks of the season if we are to secure a spot in Monday evening’s Third Round draw.
Putting our worries aside, we’ll go for a sneaky one-nil win!