We hope this doesn’t sound as too mean, but – to us – the lads from Walsall are a bit “meh”; not a team that gets you excitedWe hope this doesn’t sound as too mean, but – to us – the lads from Walsall are a bit “meh”; not a team that gets you excited. Once the fixture list comes out, we aren’t running our fingers down the schedule to pick out the Saddlers’ name. To be honest, we wouldn’t surprised if they felt the same about us. But our head-to-head record up until this point probably gives us one big reason why that is. That’s because we always seem to bloody draw with them!
We’ve shared the points in five out of our nine previous encounters – including our last three. So, where’s your money going on this one?
Walsall v Stevenage
Banks’s Stadium, Walsall — 28 August 2021 — Sky Bet League Two
Last season was deeply frustrating. While we weren’t exactly in decent nick before Christmas, it looked like we might just pick up the three points at the Banks’s Stadium on 2 December 2020. Aramide Oteh‘s penalty in the 50th minute put us ahead. But they won a penalty of their own in stoppage time; earning a draw and making sure that we didn’t pick up our first-ever win at their place. Five visits, zero wins. That’s our haul from the West Midlands so far.
Back at ours on 20 February 2021, an inexplicable mistake by Jamie Cumming on his return to the team allowed the Saddlers to take the lead after a matter of seconds. Our visitors were then reduced to 10 men on 56 minutes. But we couldn’t find a way through until the 70th minute; an inspired display from their stopper Liam Roberts giving us no end of grief. In the end, we had to settle for another 1-1 draw and another two dropped points.
League One introductions
We’ve met nine times before – and six of those were during our time as a League One club. This is where we first got so attached to sharing the spoils. And it’s also when we first got a first taste of Walsall goalkeeping wonder displays; Jimmy Walker keeping us at bay on 26 November 2011 in a 0-0 draw at the Lamex. Some mothers do ‘ave ’em.
Oh, late goals also seem to be a feature of our matches too. Michael Bostwick netted a last-gasp, curling effort on 24 March 2012 as we rescued a 1-1 draw at the Banks’s Stadium.
Hold up! What’s this? A win? A 3-1 home victory on 18 September 2012 launched us into second in the League One table; Greg Tansey scoring one of his golazos to help Boro’ on our way. We can only describe the return result as pure tit-for-tattery by the Saddlers, however. A sensational late goal condemned us to a 1-0 defeat at Banks’s Stadium on 1 January 2013. It’s not how you want to start the new calendar year, is it?
It ain’t always all square in love and war
Not only was 2012-3 the first season that either side had beaten the other, but it started a short-lived precedent that ran into 2013-4. What do we mean by that? Well, it again saw us win at ours and them win at theirs. A 2-1 defeat on the road on 19 October 2013 was one of many that put us in such dire straits. By the time we won 3-2 at the Lamex on 26 April 2014, it was too late; a late Luke Freeman goal securing the points in our first game as an already-relegated club.
That was actually that for more than five years. Walsall kept themselves up in League One until 2019. In their first season back in the fourth tier for 12 years, the Saddlers were denied a(nother) home win against us on 23 November 2019; striking the woodwork in stoppage time. That was fine by us, given that we were well used to losing games that season.
We didn’t get to welcome them back to ours that season due to Covid-19. But we bet you forgot that we should’ve actually squeezed the fixture in on 29 February 2020. A waterlogged pitch at the Lamex, however, put paid to the match. And, ultimately, it’d never get played. Who knows if it went ahead as planned. We may have collected the points that made our eventual survival on PPG more comfortable. And we dare say if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.