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10 December 2014

'Keeper full of praise...

SADDLERS' stopper, Richard O’Donnell, heaped praise on Walsall’s travelling support after his shoot-out heroics helped book our place in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area Final.

Our only ever-present this season made a decisive sudden death penalty save to prevent Tranmere from progressing, clearing the way for Paul Downing to convert the match-winning spot-kick.

“I was angry that I didn’t go the right way for the other ones to be honest,” smiled O’Donnell. “I went into the penalties thinking I could save all of them but I’ll take just the one!

“It’s always nice as a goalkeeper to contribute but, fair play to Paul Downing, who also put the pressure penalty away.”

Downing’s penalty success sparked mass celebrations in front of the travelling Walsall fans with O’Donnell insisting The Saddlers support helped drag the team over the line.

“Our fans were brilliant again tonight weren’t they?” he added. “They’ve travelled up here on a horrible Tuesday night and were fantastic all the way through.

“But especially in the first half, they really stayed with us so it was great to go and celebrate with them at the end.”

After starting brightly, The Saddlers were stunned by two Tranmere goals in quick succession.

Dean Smith reshuffled the pack in the second period and two well-taken goals from Anthony Forde and Michael Cain forced a dreaded shoot-out.

“We were disappointed with our first half performance, so to come away with the win and getting through is really pleasing,” commented O’Donnell. “We were much better in the second half.

“We came out, set the tempo and scored two really good goals and ultimately put the important penalty away.

“I think it shows the character of the side to come from 2-0 down and you saw our togetherness to get ourselves back in it.

“We’re looking forward to seeing who we’ve got in the Area Final now and hopefully we can go one more and reach Wembley.

“Its going to be difficult because both Preston and Notts County are strong teams but we feel that over two legs we can beat anyone.”

Saddlers Player subscribers can see the interview in full...

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