KETTLE HAS GOT PARKY BOILING!
WALSALL keeper Neil Etheridge was ‘Premier League’ but referee Trevor Kettle was ‘Sunday League’ as Bolton’s unbeaten start was ended by the terrific ten-man Saddlers.
Etheridge produced a string of secondhalf stops to preserve a vital three points for Walsall, who played more than 75 minutes with ten men after Joe Edwards’ harsh red card for an elbow.
Bolton also ended the game with ten after substitute Keshi Anderson’s farcical dismissal, leading both managers to reach boiling point over Kettle.
Leading the criticism was Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson after Anderson’s first booking came for entering the field too soon when replacing Chris Taylor.
Parkinson moaned: “I thought all-round it was a very poor refereeing performance.
“I was stood next to the fourth official and he practically pushed Keshi on to the pitch. They will deny that they sent him on but I was stood right next to him and I saw it.”
While unimpressed with Kettle, the Bolton boss had nothing but admiration for Saddlers stopper Etheridge.
Parkinson added: “We did everything we could to get back in the game and their keeper has pulled off some incredible saves. Two or three of the saves the keeper made are Premier League saves. The one from Jamie Proctor is as good a save as I’ve seen in a long while.”
It was a huge win for Walsall boss Jon Whitney and he felt Edwards’ harsh dismissal galvanised the Saddlers players and fans.
He said: “I wasn’t expecting the red card. I thought it was quite harsh. There was no movement of the hand towards the face. Joe had his eye on the ball all the time.
“He was too quick to get the red card out. But it united us. It resulted in a great atmosphere in the crowd.
“Credit to the boys, they deserve that. They have had some criticism over the last few weeks and a performance like that hopefully shows why we have said we had belief in our players. A couple of Neil Etheridge’s saves were unbelievable. He is a big-game keeper.”
For the first 15 minutes physicallyimposing Bolton looked head and shoulders – literally and figuratively – above their hosts.
But Proctor saw their best chance, a header from 12 yards, clip the bar and after Edwards’ 16th-minute red for an elbow on Taylor, Walsall rallied.
They went ahead on 25 minutes as Mark Howard flapped at a free-kick and Jason McCarthy bundled home.
Bolton almost levelled immediately but Andreas Makris cleared Lewis Buxton’s header off the line before Etheridge pushed away Proctor’s 20-yard rocket.
After the interval, Etheridge made two stunning stops – from David Wheater’s close-range header and Proctor’s 12-yard half-volley.
And Bolton’s woes were compounded by Anderson’s stoppage-time red card.
STAR MAN NEIL ETHERIDGE Walsall MATCH WINNER: Walsall defender Jason McCarthy celebrates his goal