Walsall Web Fans continues its lookback at our first season at Bescot Stadium. Here we look back at the five matches which took place in the month of November.
The opening game of the month started on a high with a 2-1 away win at Blackpool. Walsall hit top form in this game to stun the home side and to show to their own fans just how inconsistant they were in the opening months of the 1990-1 season. Both goals came from hot-shot Stuart Rimmer who by the end of this game had recorded his 13th league and cup goal making him the joint top scorer in England with Steve Bull who was fresh back from Italia 90. This also gave Rimmer the fine record of 100 goals from 200 league matches. As early as the second minute he was put through by Adrian Littlejohn . Seasiders defender Phil Horner made a right hash of of a clearance and and Rimmer pounced. On the half hour mark the little striker cut in from the right to give home keeper Steve Mc Ilhargy, who had a short spell with Walsall, no chance with an angled shot. Blackpool did pull one back from Paul Groves on 76 minutes to head home a Mark Taylor cross. Dean Smith, back from injury, marshalled his defence superbly and Walsall returned home with all three points.
The following Tuesday evening Walsall entertained near neighbours Birmingham City in the Leyland Daf Cup Preliminary Round. A gate of over 5,000 at Bescot Stadium saw Blues record a 1-0 victory. It was a welcome win for our visitors who who had gone 10 games without a win and who had drawn too many games.
For Saddlers though it meant that anything less than a win away at Lincoln City in their other tie would end a Wembley dream, something manager Kenny Hibbitt had dreamed about in his programme notes stating his ambition was to lead Saddlers out at Wembley Stadium one day. The winner came via an unfortunate own goal from Peter Skipper who smashed the ball in off a post.The closest Walsall came to a goal was when Charlie Ntamark hit the post from fully 25 yards.
Next up came a mouth-watering clash with second in the table Burnley whose assistant manager at this time was Jimmy Mullen who later in his career would be destined to join Walsall. The Clarets where on the back of three successive wins and had already taken 25 points from their first 14 games. Burnley were full of confidence especially in the first half. Walsall had new signing Colin Methven making his debut following his recent capture from Blackpool. Already in his mid 30′s, Methven was subject of a transfer tribunal to determine the transfer fee which was set at a mere £2,500 much to the annoyance of Walsall FC who wanted the player for nothing. The only goal of the game was scored by that man Stuart Rimmer. Boss Frank Casper had put two men marking the livewire and the one occasion in the game when his orders were not carried out he scored! Steve Davis broke up a raid and played the ball back to his keeper, Chris Pearce. But quick as a flash Rimmer darted in, rounded Pearce and calmly stroked the ball home. Davis must have felt a tad silly because just minutes before he passed the ball back to his keeper, turned to his bench and gestured just how easy it was by pretending to take a cigarette out of his mouth and stub it out with his toe! A large and loud following from Burnley gave Walsall a bumper gate of 5,710.
The following week Walsall travelled to Aylesbury Town in the first round of the FA Cup to what seemed on paper a tricky tie. B Sky B were smelling a possible upset and made this a 1.05 pm live game. Walsall collected a cash bonus of £30,000 for being one of the competing teams but Roy Whalley was complaining that the big boys get a fee of £145,000 when they are screened. Walsall also made around £10,000 out of the gate receipts. The game was settled by an 11th minute by a strike from Rod Mc Donald. The home defence failed to deal with a Martin Singleton corner and Mc Donald shot home through a sea of legs. The striker should have had a hat trick by half time and Walsall dominated the half. Saddlers could even have the luxury of a penalty miss from Stuart Rimmer who said afterwards he hit the ball too hard as it crashed against the bar. Walsall’s reward when the draw was made was a trip to Swansea on December 12th. Fans who couldn’t make Aylesbury were able to see the game live in the Saddlers Club for which a charge of £2 was made for admission to the club.
The final game for the month was a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Chesterfield at Saltergate. Dave Caldwell put the home side in the lead as early as the 3rd minute when he was generously given two stabs at the chance by the sleepy Walsall defence. Tony Brien then put through his own goal on 15 minutes to draw Walsall level. Paul Lemon, who had previously had a short loan spell with Walsall a couple of years earlier, regained Chesterfield’s lead before Colin Methven gave Walsall a share of the points to end the game 2-2 in the 83rd minute. Walsall ended November in 15th spot in Division Four with 20 points on the board and had a decent record of just one defeat in their recent nine league games.