Walsall Web Fans looks back at a memorable afternoon from a League Two fixture between Swindon Town and Walsall on Saturday May 5th, 2007 on the last day of the season when The Robins grabbed the third automatic promotion spot and Walsall became League Two champions following the game’s 1-1 draw and Hartlepool losing 2-1 to Bristol Rovers. It was Walsall’s first major trophy since winning the old 4th Division championship back in 1960. For Swindon boss Paul Sturrock it was his 4th promotion in six years with two at Plymouth and one at Sheffield Wednesday over this period. For Walsall manager Richard Money it was a marvellous achievement in his first season in the hot seat.
The Swindon players put a lot into the first half but with very little end product. Striker Barry Corr just failed to connect from an early cross by Jack Smith. Live wire Jeryl Ifil twice threatened Clayton Ince’s goal before winger Christian Roberts tested the Walsall keeper at the near post. Very little was seen of Saddlers, however, in that first 45 minutes. It was a good job that Ince was alert at the start of the second half as he pushed midfielder Lee Peacock’s smart goal-bound header onto a post. However Ince was finally beaten on 52 minutes when Ifil headed home a Sofiane Zaaboub corner. It was his first goal in 149 games.
Walsall threw on an extra striker, Hector Sam, on 63 minutes but had to wait a further 20 minutes before having their first shot when skipper Michael Dobson sent a shot over the bar from 30 yards. This sparked Saddlers into life and home keeper Phil Smith had to make a fine flying save from Martin Butler’s volley. Then in time added on came the moment the 3,500 travelling Walsall fans amongst the 14,731 had been waiting for. Dean Keates latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area and sent a beauty into the back of the net. He ended the season as top scorer on 13 goals.
One man who missed this goal-and indeed a fair portion of that second half was manager Richard Money, who had been sent off for disputing a Swindon thow in near the half way line. He said to the press after the game, “It was an emotional day and I guess I lost my head. I can only apologise to the players and supporters. It might have cost us but thankfully the players pulled me out of the mire. I hear Dean scored a cracker. I didn’t see it. I was standing in the tunnel!”
Man of the moment Dean Keates commented, “To go up as champions, especially for a local Walsall lad means a lot. And it means even more that I scored the goal. We deserve to be top as we’ve been in the top two all season and spent the majority of the season on top.”
There were terrific scenes of jubilation when the final whistle went with both sets of supporters gleefully invading the pitch in a joint celebration. The below being the view of the home support…
Both teams ran out for more acclaim with the Swindon players joining the Walsall players at the end of their lap of honour.
The victorious Walsall players received the League Two trophy at a Civic reception at Walsall Council House the following Tuesday evening.
The starting line ups that afternoon were…..
SWINDON TOWN – P.Smith, J.Smith, Ifil, Vincent, Nicholas, Roberts, Peacock, Pook, Zaaboub, Sturrock, Corr,
WALSALL – Ince, Pead, Gerrard, Westwood, Fox, Harper, Keates, Dobson, Demontagnac, Butler, Benjamin.
Swindon fans share your memories on the Swindon Town Web-Fans forum – http://forum.web-fans.com/viewforum.php?f=88
And Walsall fans relive the day at – http://forum.web-fans.com/viewforum.php?f=90
Swindon Vs Walsall 2011 Match Odds – http://www.walsall.web-fans.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1215