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2014–15 Walsall F.C. season

The 2014/15 campaign was a historic one for Walsall, with the club making its first ever appearance at Wembley in the final of the Football League Trophy. The Saddlers’ league form was less impressive, ending the season with a 14th place finish.

Walsall F.C.
2014–15 season
ChairmanJeff Bonser
ManagerDean Smith
FA Cup1st round
(knocked out by Shrewsbury Town)
League Cup2nd round
(knocked out by Crystal Palace)
Football League TrophyRunner up
Top goalscorerLeague:
All: Tom Bradshaw (20)

The road to WembleyEdit

Having received a bye to the Northern section second round, Walsall started their Football League Trophy campaign with a trip to Rochdale. Despite having been beaten 4-0 in the corresponding league fixture a few weeks earlier, the Saddlers won 1-0 with a goal from French striker Mathieu Manset, his only goal for the club.

The quarter finals saw Sheffield United defeated by the same scoreline courtesy of a Romaine Sawyers goal. Travelling to Tranmere for the semi-final, the Saddlers trailed 2-0 before hitting back to draw 2-2 and win on penalties.

That set up a Northern section final with Preston North End. An inspired goalkeeping performance from Richard O'Donnell and late goals from Anthony Forde and Tom Bradshaw secured a 2-0 away win in the first leg. A goalless draw back at the Bescot was enough to confirm Walsall’s first appearance at Wembley in the club’s 127-year history, prompting wild celebrations from fans and players alike.

The Saddlers would face runaway League One leaders Bristol City in the final, with the clash generating major excitement in the town. More than 30,000 Walsall fans made the trip to London, forming part of a crowd over 72,000 strong. However, the Saddlers were comfortably beaten on the day suffering a 2-0 defeat.

The league seasonEdit

Major moves in the summer transfer market saw the departure of captain and fan favourite Andy Butler who left for Sheffield United, while top scorer Craig Westcarr was surprisingly released. Incomings included defender James O’Connor and attackers Tom Bradshaw and Jordan Cook.

The season got off to a poor start with the club failing to win any of its first six league fixtures. A first three points of the season was finally achieved with a 3-1 win over Preston, with Butler surprisingly returning to the club on a one-month loan deal to cover a defensive injury crisis.

However, the Saddlers continued to struggle with a 1-0 defeat to Crawley in October meaning the club had won just four of its last 32 league fixtures stretching back to January 2014. Despite this poor form, the club stuck with manager Dean Smith, who followed the Crawley loss with a seven game unbeaten run and progress in the Football League Trophy.

The form of Bradshaw was a major plus-point, with the young striker hitting 15 goals in his first 22 games for the club. Otherwise, Walsall struggled for goals and a run of just one win in 12 games between January and March left the Saddlers two points above the relegation zone with six games left to play.

However, three wins in the next five games ensured survival was achieved comfortably. Importantly, Bradshaw regained his early season form, hitting four goals after enduring a seven-game drought.

The season ended on a sour note with an 8-2 thrashing away at champions Bristol City. That left the Saddlers in 14th, ten points off the playoffs and nine clear of relegation. It was a low scoring season for the club, managing only 50 goals in 46 league games.

Match detailsEdit

Pre-seasonEdit

League OneEdit

League tableEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
12 Gillingham 46 16 14 16 65 66 −1 62
13 Doncaster Rovers 46 16 13 17 58 62 −4 61
14 Walsall 46 14 17 15 50 54 −4 59
15 Oldham Athletic 46 14 15 17 54 67 −13 57
16 Scunthorpe United 46 14 14 18 62 75 −13 56
Updated to match(es) played on 3 May 2015. Source: BBC Sport
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Number of goals scored

MatchesEdit

The fixtures for the 2014–15 season were announced on 18 June 2014 at 9am.[1]

FA CupEdit

The draw for the first round of the FA Cup was made on 27 October 2014.[2]

League CupEdit

The draw for the first round was made on 17 June 2014 at 10am. Walsall were drawn away to Southend United.[3]

Football League TrophyEdit

TransfersEdit

InEdit

N
Pos.
Nat.
Name
Age
EU
Moving from
Type
Transfer
window
Ends
Transfer
fee
Source
13 GK   Craig MacGillivray 21 EU Harrogate Town Transfer Summer 2015 Undisclosed [4]
4 DF   James O'Connor 29 EU Derby County Free Transfer Summer 2015 Free [5]
9 FW   Tom Bradshaw 21 EU Shrewsbury Town Transfer Summer 2016 Undisclosed [6]
21 FW   Jordan Cook 24 EU Charlton Athletic Free Transfer Summer 2016 Free [7]
24 FW   Ashley Grimes 27 EU Bury Free Transfer Summer 2015 Free [8]
26 MF   Billy Clifford 21 EU Chelsea Free Transfer Summer 2015 Free [9]
27 MF   Anthony Forde 20 EU Wolverhampton Wanderers Transfer Summer 2016 Undisclosed [10]
37 FW   Mathieu Manset 25 EU Antwerp   Free Transfer Summer 2015 Free [11]
FW   Jordan Murphy 18 EU Stourbridge Transfer Summer 2015 Undisclosed [12]

OutEdit

N
Pos.
Nat.
Name
Age
EU
Moving to
Type
Transfer
window
Transfer
fee
Source
4 DF   Andy Butler 30 EU Sheffield United Released Summer Free Walsall F.C
BBC Sport
6 MF   Nicky Featherstone 25 EU Scunthorpe United Released Summer Free Football League
BBC Sport
18 DF   Ben George 20 EU Free agent Released Summer Free Football League
23 FW   Danny Griffiths 19 EU Cefn Druids   Released Summer Free Football League
11 FW   Ashley Hemmings 23 EU Dagenham & Redbridge Released Summer Free Walsall F.C
BBC Sport
24 FW   Troy Hewitt 24 EU Free agent Released Summer Free Football League
13 GK   Shane Lewis 19 EU Free agent Released Summer Free Football League
26 MF   James McQuilkin 25 EU Torquay United Released Summer Free Football League
BBC Sport
10 FW   Craig Westcarr 29 EU Portsmouth Released Summer Free Football League
BBC Sport
37 FW   Mathieu Manset 25 EU Cheltenham Town Released Winter Free Walsall F.C
BBC Sport

EU = if holds or not a European Union passport; Country: when 2 flags, 1st flag = country that plays for internationally, 2nd flag = country of birth; N = number on jersey; P = Position (for position name, pause mouse pointer on abbreviation); Name = Name on jersey (for more extensive name, pause mouse pointer on name); Age = age on the day of the signing; Moving from = only indicate the club the player was playing before start playing for this club in this season, for the type of the moving see Status column; Moving to = only indicates the club the player is going to play next, for the type of the moving see Status column; Ends = when the player's current contract ends; n/a = Not applicable.

Loans inEdit

No.
P
Name
Country
Age
Loan club
Started
Ended
Start source
End source
44 DF Andy Butler   28 Sheffield United 11 September 2014 20 October 2014 Walsall F.C Vital Football
12 MF Michael Cain   19 Leicester City 20 October 2014 30 June 2015 Walsall F.C
Walsall F.C
Walsall F.C
30 FW Jordy Hiwula   20 Manchester City 2 February 2015 4 April 2015 Walsall F.C
Walsall F.C
Sources: For loan start source see "Start source". For loan end source see "End source".
EU = if holds or not a European Union passport; Country: when 2 flags, 1st flag = country that plays for internationally, 2nd flag = country of birth; No. = number on jersey; P = Position (for position name, pause mouse pointer on abbreviation); Name = Name on jersey (for more extensive name, pause mouse pointer on name); In/Out = In: The player came in on loan, Out: The player went out on loan; Loan club = the club that the player moved on loan to or the club that the player came from on loan; Started = the date when the player's loan started; Ended = the date when the player's loan ended.

Loans outEdit

No.
P
Name
Country
Age
Loan club
Started
Ended
Start source
End source
22 GK Liam Roberts   19 Rushall Olympic 25 July 2014 October 2014 Express and Star Walsall F.C
19 FW Jake Heath   19 Rushall Olympic 8 August 2014 5 September 2014 Walsall F.C
20 FW Amadou Bakayoko   18 Southport 10 October 2014 20 December 2014 Walsall F.C
Walsall F.C
22 GK Liam Roberts   20 Southport 27 November 2014 5 January 2015 Walsall F.C
14 DF Malvind Benning   21 York City 22 January 2015 19 February 2015 York City F.C
Sources: For loan start source see "Start source". For loan end source see "End source".
EU = if holds or not a European Union passport; Country: when 2 flags, 1st flag = country that plays for internationally, 2nd flag = country of birth; No. = number on jersey; P = Position (for position name, pause mouse pointer on abbreviation); Name = Name on jersey (for more extensive name, pause mouse pointer on name); In/Out = In: The player came in on loan, Out: The player went out on loan; Loan club = the club that the player moved on loan to or the club that the player came from on loan; Started = the date when the player's loan started; Ended = the date when the player's loan ended.

Squad statisticsEdit

Source:[13][14]
Numbers in parentheses denote appearances as substitute.
Players with squad numbers struck through and marked   left the club during the playing season.
Players with names in italics and marked * were on loan from another club for the whole of their season with Walsall.
Players listed with no appearances have been in the matchday squad but only as unused substitutes.
Key to positions: GK – Goalkeeper; DF – Defender; MF – Midfielder; FW – Forward
No. Pos. Nat. Name Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals    
League FA Cup League Cup FL Trophy Total Discipline
1 GK   ENG Richard O'Donnell 44 0 2 0 2 0 6 0 54 0 2 0
2 DF   ENG Ben Purkiss 31 (1) 0 2 0 0 0 4 (1) 0 37 (2) 0 4 0
3 DF   ENG Andy Taylor 37 (2) 1 2 0 2 0 5 0 46 (2) 1 5 0
4 DF   ENG James O'Connor 30 (2) 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 33 (2) 1 3 0
5   DF   ENG Dean Holden 2 (2) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 (2) 0 0 0
6 DF   ENG Paul Downing 33 (2) 1 2 0 2 0 6 0 43 (2) 1 6 0
7 MF   ENG Adam Chambers 45 0 2 0 2 0 6 0 55 0 9 1
8 MF   ENG Sam Mantom 6 (6) 0 0 (1) 0 0 0 1 (1) 0 7 (8) 0 0 0
9 FW   WAL Tom Bradshaw 29 17 1 2 2 0 5 1 37 20 3 0
10 MF   SKN Romaine Sawyers 37 (5) 4 2 0 2 0 5 1 46 (5) 5 3 0
11 MF   ENG James Baxendale 17 (11) 1 1 (1) 0 1 (1) 0 2 (3) 0 21 (16) 1 3 0
12 MF   ENG Michael Cain * 28 (4) 2 2 0 0 0 4 1 34 (4) 3 2 0
13 GK   ENG Craig MacGillivray 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
14 DF   ENG Malvind Benning 11 (9) 0 0 (1) 0 1 (1) 1 1 0 13 (11) 1 1 0
15 DF   ENG James Chambers 31 0 2 0 1 0 6 0 40 0 1 0
16 DF   ENG Matt Preston 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 0 0
17 MF   ENG Reece Flanagan 9 (7) 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 0 (1) 0 9 (9) 0 0 0
18 MF   ENG Kieron Morris 9 (5) 2 0 0 0 (1) 1 0 0 9 (6) 3 0 0
20 FW   SLE Amadou Bakayoko 0 (7) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (7) 0 1 0
21 FW   ENG Jordan Cook 27 (5) 5 1 0 0 0 5 (1) 0 33 (6) 5 4 0
22 MF   IRL Liam Kinsella 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 5 0 1 0
24 FW   ENG Ashley Grimes 11 (16) 2 0 (2) 0 2 0 1 (4) 0 14 (22) 2 4 0
25 DF   ENG Rico Henry 4 (5) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 (5) 0 0 0
26   MF   ENG Billy Clifford 7 (6) 0 0 0 1 (1) 0 1 0 9 (7) 0 1 0
27 MF   IRL Anthony Forde 24 (13) 3 2 0 1 0 4 (2) 2 31 (15) 5 1 0
28 DF   ENG Kyle Rowley 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
29 FW   ENG Jordan Murphy 0 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (2) 0 0 0
30 FW   ENG Jordy Hiwula * 17 (2) 9 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 17 (3) 9 2 0
37   FW   FRA Mathieu Manset 4 (15) 0 1 (1) 0 0 0 1 (2) 1 6 (18) 1 2 0
44   DF   ENG Andy Butler * 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 2 0
Players not included in matchday squads
No. Pos. Nat. Name
19 MF   ENG Jake Heath
23 GK   ENG Liam Roberts

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Walsall Football Club Fixtures 2014/15". Walsall F.C. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  2. ^ "First round draw". The FA. 27 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Brown Up For Saddlers Challenge". Walsall F.C. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Saddlers Sign Highly-Rated 'Keeper". Walsall F.C. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Reliable Defender Arrives". Walsall F.C. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Saddlers Sign Bradshaw". Walsall F.C. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Saddlers Snap Up Cook". Walsall F.C. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Grimes Makes A Clean Break With The Saddlers". Walsall F.C. 25 July 2014. Archived from the original on 25 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Saddlers Add Clifford". Walsall F.C. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Forde Motors In". Walsall F.C. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Manset signs". Walsall F.C. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Saddlers Sign Up Talented Youngster". Walsall F.C. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  13. ^ "Walsall". FootballSquads. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Squad stats". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 16 August 2017.