Walsall Web Fans looks back at the game between Southampton and Walsall that took place at St Mary’s on Saturday February 27th, 2010. This was of course Saddlers first ever visit to the stadium. Saints had already beaten Walsall 3-1 at Bescot in the December and many thought they were the best team Saddlers had faced that campaign. Walsall were in 9th place in League One going into this game with 43 points. Southampton were in 11th with 38 points but had faced a 10 point deduction for entering administration. Manager Chris Hutchings dropped veteran goalkeeper Clayton Ince for this game and gave the jersey to Rene Gilmartin and it proved quite a test for the youngster.
Walsall got off to a great start with a glorious free kick taken by Matt Richards after just three minues, bending the ball into the net. From that moment onwards though it was all the home side. It only took them five minutes to get back in the game when Jason Puncheon accepted a pass from Rickie Lambert to hit home via a post. Lee Barnard had a goal disallowed for offside but got his revenge on 33 minutes when he reacted smartly from a Adam Lallana blocked shot. The Saints were in full flow now and it was no surprise when they went three up just three minutes later though Barnard again. He was left completely unmarked to slot home. Gilmartin did produce one brilliant save in time added on to keep the half time score down to 3-1.
Walsall produced a few half chances in the second half but just after the hour mark Lambert got in on the actas he easily beat Darryl Westlake and fired through Gilmartin’s legs.There was a welcome return for Walsall’s Steve Jones who came on as a substitute after being out for three months but even he was unable to change Saddlers fortunes. The final goal of this one-sided game came on 89 minutes when Papa Waigo passed for Lallana to tap in.
The starting line ups that afternoon were….
SOUTHAMPTON – Davis, Harding, Jaidi, Fonte, Otsemobor, Puncheon, Hammond, Schneideilin, Lambert, Barnard, Lallana.
WALSALL – Gilmartin, Taundry, Westlake, Vincent, Mc Donald, O’Keefe, Richards, Gray, Deeney, Nicholls, Byfield.