Ricketts Double Inspires Walsall
Byline: PAUL MARSTON at the Memorial Ground
BRISTOL ROV 1 Elliott 76 mins WALSALL 3 Ricketts 10, 90mins, Roberts 24 MUCH-CHANGED Walsall pulled off a remarkable win over free-scoring Bristol Rovers, despite losing top defender Anthony Gerrard with an early injury.
Acting skipper Michael Ricketts scored twice - the second from a penalty - and centre-back Stephen Roberts notched his rst goal for the club.
Jimmy Mullen made ve changes from the team beaten at home by Leyton Orient a week earlier, and what a response he had from the players.
Yetwhen they lost Gerrard with a head injury in the seventh minute, their 274 travelling fans must have feared the worst, because the Pirates had hit six past Hereford in their last home match.
But Rhys Weston, brought in at rightback for his rst game of the season after injury, switched to central defence and gave a fantastic performance against the dangerous Rickie Lambert.
Walsall scored twice from set pieces in the rst half, and a delighted Mullen, who was sent to the stands by the referee in the 72nd minute, said: "We played fantastically well and the boys deserved the result.
"Gerrard has a black eye and huge lump on his head, but I was condent with Weston going to centre-back because I knew he had played there in the past.
"Why was I sent off? I don't know, and I intend to ask the ofcials why.
"Someone said it might have been for continuous encroachment from the technical area, but I am Zabbergasted because I never swore or said anything to the ofcials. It was a nightmare watching from the stand."
With young Alex Nicholls using his terric pace to unsettle Rovers down the right, Walsall set about the opposition from the word go, although there was one scare when Stuart Campbell hammered a drive over the bar for the Pirates from a pass by Aaron Lescott.
The Saddlers continued to push forward and after Nicholls forced a corner on the right they took a seventh minute lead. Marco Reich swung over the Zagkick and Gerrard bravely lunged forward to connect with a header which landed at the feet of Rickettswho swiftly hooked it into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.
Gerrard had taken a nasty blow to the head setting up that goal and was replaced by Chris Palmer, who did particularly well at right-back with Weston playing alongside Roberts. …