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24th July 2004 
Four goals in friendly

The Harriers got onto the winning track against Paul Mersons Walsall today, even after going two goals behind early on.  For us there was a debut for the ex Tranmere midfielder, Micky Mellon, who is expected to sign a two year deal on Monday.

Goals from ex Harriers target Gary Birch in the 2nd minute and the eye catching Matt Fryatt a few minutes later put Walsall into what, at first, was thought would be an unassailable lead for the Saddlers.

Soon after Abdou Sall was caught on the back of the leg by a Walsall defender and what, originally, was thought to be just a bad case of bruising turned out to be a suspected broken leg.  If so it will mean Sall will be out until at least the New Year.  Something that we can ill afford and will mean that Jan will have to look for another centre half now.

Walsall were looking good value for their lead but slowly the Reds got back into the game and it took a fine strike from Youssou Diop to put us back in with a chance.  It was another long range effort from the edge of the area that is becoming something of a trademark for the Senegalese striker.

The second half started with another early goal but this time for us.  Mellon seeing the keeper off his line lifted a sweet ball over his head for the equaliser.

For long periods of time what followed was a midfield battle interspersed with some dodgy decisions from both linesmen.  Every attack by both sides was being pulled back after some premature flagging.  If they come early on the line do they come early in bed?

About twenty minutes from the end Walsall regained the lead after a marvelous goal from Fryatt and then came a small moment of controversy when the Harriers were awarded a penalty after Simon Brown was up-ended in the box.  Definite penalty, easily finished off by Ian Foster, but the Walsall players decided to argue about it and the stupid ref booked Merson.  It was only a friendly ref, no need for bookings.

With the time ticking away it looked like ending up as an agreeable draw but the ex Walsall favourite Dean Keates hadn't finished.  From out of the blue he unleashed a screamer that left the Saddlers keeper rooted.

A cracking goal that was also applauded by the generous Walsall following.

A good result and although the first half display looked nervous we improved in the second half.  Now if only Jesper could get it right we might have a season to savour.

Danby, Advice, Burton, Sall, Hatswell, Mellon, Brown, O'Brien, Christiansen, Diop, Keates.

Appleby, Russell, Foster, Rickards, McHale, Lewis, Jenkins.
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