Walsall 1 Burnley 0 Match Report from the Bescot Stadium

Last updated : 05 March 2002 By Andy Robinson
Alan Moore went close late on
A failure to create chances cost Burnley dear at the Bescot Stadium but Clarets fans were left pointing the finger at referee Paul Alcock for his failure to award a free kick for a foul on Marlon Beresford in the incident which saw Walsall score the only goal of the game.

Both teams showed plenty of enterprise in the first period but it was Beresford who was kept the busier of the two keepers as he twice had to produce excellent save to keep the Saddlers at bay.

At the other end Burnley had plenty of the ball but failed to match Walsall's penetration as once again the Clarets failed to get any worthwhile attempts on target.

The match sprang to life early in the second period and on 53 minutes came the moment that settled the match.

Simpson swung a corner into the 6 yard box which Beresford looked to have caught cleanly until he was barged by 2 Walsall players who forced the ball from his grasp to the waiting Marcelo who forced the ball over the line from close range.

As everyone stopped expecting the free kick to be given it was to the horror of the Clarets that they saw referee Alcock running back to the centre circle pointing for a goal.

Shortly afterwards Walsall almost made it 2 when the dangerous Marcelo forced Beresford into a brilliant save from point blank range and Darren Wrack could only blast the loose ball over the empty net.

Brad Maylett was introduced for Paul Weller on the hour mark and he almost made an immediate impact as he set the ball up for Dean West to pick out Gareth Taylor on the far post but his header hit the outside of the post when anything on target would probably have brought a goal.

Moments later Maylett almost set up a chance for Ian Moore but just overhit his pass allowing keeper Walker to gather.

Desperate for the points in their relegation struggle Walsall went into their shell as they set about protecting their lead and try as they might the Clarets just could not work a clear opening.

In the last minute Alan Moore hit a powerful volley towards goal that looked like it was going in until it was deflected behind for a corner and it was all over.

So a disappointing night for the Clarets in the Midlands but once again our play off challengers failed to take advantage with Preston and Birmingham both losing and Crystal Palace only able to pick up a point.

With so few games remaining and the play off picture looking increasingly tight it is time to get behind the Clarets and leave any inquests until after the season.

The dream of automatic promotion is now gone but a play off place is still very much there for the taking.