WALSALL manager Paul Merson delights in taking complete charge on the pitch - something you can bet Peter Jackson would love to do right now.

A mean, disciplined and determined centre-back in his playing days, Jackson clearly cringes at the defensive frailty which is blighting Town's hopes of making any push back towards the play-offs.

Jackson would relish stepping into the middle of it all - directing his colleagues to keep their shape and ensuring the midfield provided an initial solid bank of resistance.

That is simply not happening for Town at the moment.

Communication and organisation are lacking and it's costing a talented team very dearly indeed.

It's a shame to have to focus on such negatives in the wake of a thrilling match which also highlighted how potent and entertaining Town can be as an attacking force.

But, unfortunately, the negatives are outweighing the positives considering the evidence of three wins in 17 matches and only one clean sheet in 22.

Poor Luke Beckett must wonder what he's come to after bagging four goals in three matches while Town have conceded 10!

In the first half, he was part of a dominant, creative and confident Town side who made a nonsense of the sign inside the tunnel which proclaims `This is Fortress Bescot.'

He forced Julian Bennett into the mistake which led to Andy Booth's superbly-struck seventh-minute opener and then pounced in predatory fashion to add strikes on 11 and 33, which each gave Town a two-goal advantage.

Walsall, in fact, were barely given a kick as 1,200 travelling fans warmed to the prospect of a victory, but Merson showed his class with a goal out of nothing on 16 minutes, driving the ball in off a post from 20 yards out, and the home side got the crucial lifeline they were needing from the penultimate kick of the half.

It came from teenage prodigy Matty Fryatt, some 30 yards from goal, and he scored with the sort of dipping volley which no-one will forget in a hurry.

There was just enough time for Town to kick-off and, instead of being desperately deflated, Walsall were now only 3-2 down and had some hope.

It meant the next goal would be vital and it came just five minutes into the second half for Walsall, when Efe Sodje was perhaps unlucky to be flagged for handball.

Fryatt scored from the spot and, while there may have been an element of luck in that goal, the winner 16 minutes from time was a brilliant move.

Mark Kinsella won a tackle on the edge of Walsall's box, played the ball to Darren Wrack who, in turn, slipped it to Merson. His pass then put Fryatt into the area and he blasted home from 15 yards.

It highlighted indiscipline in Town's defending as a team and created some interesting posers on selection and formation against the leaders at the Galpharm next weekend.

Man of the Match: Andy Booth

Made his presence felt at both ends of the pitch. Scored one goal, had a hand in the other two and played well in a front three who got no reasonable service at all in the second half


Paul Rachubka Made super saves from Leitao and Fryatt and there was nothing he could do to prevent any of the Walsall goals Rating: 6/10

Nat Brown Again showed his aerial ability and not frightened to push forward early on. Taken off as part of a second-half reshuffle Rating: 5/10

Rob Edwards Supplied some decent crosses and corners before Town became overrun after Walsall's penalty leveller Rating: 5/10

Steve Yates Moved forward in the second half in an effort to stop Merson, who has more assists than anyone else in League I Rating: 5/10

Efe Sodje Perhaps unlucky to be flagged for handball at close quarters to concede the penalty in a major turning point Rating: 5/10

Lee Fowler First to pay the price for Town's second-half slump when replaced by Ahmed midway through the second half Rating: 5/10

Chris Brandon Here, there and everywhere in the first half, he found it much tougher in the second as Walsall took control Rating: 5/10

Jon Worthington Set up Schofield for a late chance to equalise but there seemed to be too little time on the ball for Town's midfield Rating: 5/10

Luke Beckett Has scored four goals in three games and seen Town concede 10! He must wonder what he's come to be part of Rating: 7/10

Andy Booth Scored a cracking first goal and helped create the others. He worked hard and also defended well at set pieces Rating: 8/10

Pawel Abbott Unlucky not to score in the first half with shots on the turn. Also set up a great chance for the speeding Brandon Rating: 6/10

Spotlight on the Ref: THE Bescot Stadium has a very narrow pitch, but Worcester referee Mick Fletcher was on top of the action all afternoon. He should not have allowed Walsall to continue before the penalty award, because Paul Merson took a free-kick to Matty Fryatt while the ball was still moving, but he was otherwise pretty much on the button with his decisions.

He showed patience aplenty when Merson complained after Town's third goal. He eventually booked the Walsall manager, but he could easily have produced a red card.

Walsall: Murphy; Wright, Emblen, Bennett, Aranalde; Taylor, Kinsella, Merson, Wrack; Fryatt, Leitao.

Subs not used: Roper, Robinson, Surman, Broad, Coleman.