The eagerly awaited first game of the new season was a home league clash against Fulham, the club which almost ‘died’ the year before. Our visitors included summer signing Leroy Rosenior, a £100,000 buy from Queens Park Rangers. Walsall manager Tommy Coakley had wanted to sign the player himself but thought QPR’s valuation of the player was too high. After all the build up to the game Walsall flopped when it really mattered and provided an inept performance which Coakley rightly described as “Toothless, spineless and lacking in character.” Rosenior got the only goal of the game in the 58th minute.
The following Tuesday Saddlers had a chance to get the Fulham performance out of their system with a short hop to West Bromwich Albion in the Littlewoods Cup. Keeping faith with the same starting XI, Tommy Coakley’s men ran out 3-2 winners in that first leg with a brilliant display in which Saddlers were so superior that the corner count was 18-7 in their favour which was an excellent reflection of the play.
Walsall took the lead through Craig Shakespeare on 12 minutes however before half time Graeme Forbes put through his own net to put the hosts back in the game. Paul Jones restored Walsall’s lead on 52 minutes with a 20 yarder and 11 minutes later Forbes made up for his earlier error. Darren Bradley pulled one back late on however Saddlers held on to win 3-2 to delight their large travelling army in the Halfords Lane End.
Walsall’s next league game came he Saturday after with a trip to Blackpool and ran out 2-1 winners. It was another well-deserved victory and a top performane by striker Nicky Cross who got both goals and a relief for manger Coakley who now had league points on the board. The second leg of the Littlewoods Cup was next up. Defending their 3-2 first leg lead, Walsall missed a host of chances to put the tie to bed, none more so than David Kelly’s weak penalty which was easily saved by Stuart Naylor. It didn’t matter in the end as the game ended 0-0 so Walsall progressed to the second round.
The Bank Holiday weekend saw Walsall roar on to two more league victories by first seeing off Northampton at Fellows Park thanks to a Paul Jones goal in the 6th minute. The Cobblers were hell-bent on playing the offside trap for the whole game and it would have been justiice if Walsall could have won by a bigger margain. Monday afternoon Saddlers headed to York City. It resulted in a 3-1 win for Tommy’s men but wasn’t a sparkling performance by any means however it was seen at the time as being a hallmark of a good side that they win when not plying well. Willie Naughton got Saddlers first in the 10th minute before Dale Banton levelled things for York after half time. Walsall woke up in the last ten minutes of the game when first Nicky Cross then Graeme Forbes netted. So Walsall ended the month of August with three successive league wins to see them handily placed in joint third in the table.