Walsall Web Fans looks back to the opening day fixture of the 2008-9 season between Yeovil Town and Walsall which was played on Saturday August 9th.New manager Jimmy Mullen had made several summer signings and Steve Roberts, Stephen Hughes, Sofiene Zaaboub and Jabo Ibhere all made their Walsall FC debuts. Michael Ricketts was making his first appearance of his third spell with the club whilst Netan Sansara who had come up from the ranks was making his debut too.
For the 525 Saddlers fans who made the trip to Huish Park their day will be remembered for the huge hold ups on the M5 and the fact that they got soaked to the skin standing on the open away terrace behind the goal as for a big part of the game they had to endure driving rain and high winds. Some were armed with umbrellas whilst plenty had their WFC shirts and shorts on, as you would expect for a first day opener in August!
With the elements behind them, Yeovil took the lead in the 7th minute, thanks to a mistake by new centre back Steve Roberts who failed to cut out a ball from Nathan Jones. Instead all he did was to set up a pass to Paul Warne. Clayton Ince managed to parry the ball but Gavin Tomlin was lurking to fire into the empty net. Ince did make a brilliant save 10 minutes later when he tipped over Warne’s back heel from a Darren Way centre which looked a certain goal. Saddlers looked a little sluggish in that first half and were happy to go into the break just a goal down.
Walsall could have been on level terms at the start of the second half when Jabo Ibhere threaded a pass to Michael Ricketts who found himself with just the keeper Asmir Begovic to beat but the striker took a touch too many and Begovic smothered. Boss Mullen resisted the temptation to make any changes until his side scored in the 77th minute. Terry Skiverton’s intended back pass was intercepted by Ibhere who slotted home under the keeper. Mullen threw on Marco Reich for the tiring captain Stephen Hughes. Later changes saw Paul Boertien on for Alex Nicholls and Ishmel Demontagnac replaced Michael Ricketts. Walsall finished the game stronger and were disappointed they didn’t go on to win the game.
The starting line ups that afternoon were…
YEOVIL TOWN – Begovic, Peltier, Forbes, Skiverton, Smith, Schofield,Bircham, Way, Downes, Tomlin,Warne.
WALSALL – Ince, Palmer, Roberts, Gerrard, Sansara, Nicholls, Hughes, Taundry, Zaaboub, Ibhere, Ricketts.