How many times have Walsall won the Walsall Senior Cup? Surely more than Bloxwich Strollers or Shelfield Athletic? Nope. They ain’t won it all. Shocking stuff. Surely the only professional club in Walsall could have won it at least once? No. The closest we came was when we reached the final in 2013.
Of course, we don’t play the first team players in these games but surely the youth team could beat a bunch of semi-professionals? Last night we had nine professionals (plus one on the bench) and six of these have seen first-team action.
Stafford Town are from the Midland Football League Division One (Tier 10) and were great hosts to approximately 300 fans. It was £4 each, £2 concessions and despite being able to qualify for concessions -UB40- I paid the full price. This is because I am a very generous man and not (as the cynical may think) because I had forgot my card to prove that I am on the dole and was that cold I couldn’t be bothered to plead my case with the turnstile operator.
Anyway, to cut a dull story short, we walloped them. There were a few tasty challenges from the Stafford lads (you could hear the thuds in the stand) that lead to a couple of penalties and we had about eighty percent of the possession. Apart from a couple of free-kicks on the edge of the box (that came to nothing) and a very late goalmouth scramble Stafford didn’t trouble our defense at all.
Bakayoko scored the first from the spot. Murphy got the second after an amazing two-thirds of the pitch run from the left-back Rico Henry. In the second-half, Benning got our second penalty, Murphy produced an excellent finish for the fourth and Bakoyoko got a late fifth from outside the box.
Man of the match was Rico Henry who coped easily with his defensive duties and had a major influence on the attack, particularly with the second goal. Out of the other professionals, Benning had a lot of possession on the wing and combined with Henry well, but overplayed things at times. Morris had a good game on the right-wing, cutting in on his left many times and hit the bar in the first-half after a great run and shot. Flanagan was calm in the middle and did the simple things well, keeping the game ticking over. Preston had so little to do it was difficult to judge him. He is big though – by far the biggest player in terms of height and build on the pitch, until Stafford brought on an enormous sub – and shouts a lot, something we seem to be lacking in the first team at the moment. Murphy was the pick of the strikers, he is fast and can definitely finish well. Kinsella had a good touch and was calm but got roughed up a few times. Bakayoko was OK. He wanted to cut-in with his left foot too many times and the keeper should have saved his second goal. MacGillivray had next to nothing to do. Roberts didn’t get a game (again).
I was sat next to Dean Smith in the second-half who was talking to a mysterious old man throughout. He looked like a cross between Roy Whalley and Tommy Coakley. Despite the use of my grandma’s ear trumpet, I couldn’t hear a bloody thing though.
Whilst I was having my half-time Bovril I was sat near to Neil Baldwin. I told him that it would be marvelous if Walsall won 5-0 and he managed to arrange a lift for me back to Pelsall. Both of which he agreed upon. When the final whistle went I turned to him to say what a marvelous result it was but he had already gone. I then had to walk to Stafford station in the snow, catch the train to Wolverhampton then wait for my bus to Pelsall with a load of angry Wolves fans. It took me two bloody hours to get home. The public transport in this region is far from bloody marvelous. I’ll tell him that, next time I see him.