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9 November 2015

Walsall in round two after Fleetwood win...

Walsall manager Dean Smith admitted his side were not at their best despite beating Fleetwood 2-0 to reach the second round of the FA Cup.

Manchester City loanee George Evans scored his third goal in four matches to give the Saddlers a first-half lead.

Declan McManus and Nathan Pond each went close for Fleetwood after the break, but substitute Anthony Forde sealed the win in stoppage time.

And although Smith was pleased with the result, he was disappointed with the overall display.

“We’ve gone through but we were average,” said Smith.

“At times we had some really good play, but for the majority, I was disappointed. We lacked a bit of energy but we defended well enough to get the win.

“The little bit of quality in the game was the goal by George Evans.

“He made a good forward run, just popped off the back of their back four, received the ball and got a great strike away and scored.

“We had a lot of possession, got in some really good areas without having the killer touch in the end which gave them a wee bit of encouragement.

“As the game went on, they certainly took over the game in terms of possession, but we probably just edged it with our defensive display.

“It’s nice to get through to the next round and even better when you’re winning games when not at your best.”

Smith made two enforced changes at half-time, with Craig MacGillivray and Forde replacing Neil Etheridge and Milan Lalkovic.

James O'Connor was also left out of the matchday squad with a calf problem.

“Neil was just feeling his thigh and we didn’t want to risk him pulling it," said Smith.

"He’ll fly out to the Philippines and have that assessed by them.

"Milan was feeling his calf as well, while James felt his calf on Thursday afternoon in training and we didn't want to risk him.

"They're just niggles.

"It's that time of the year when we have played 20 games and the pitches are starting to get a little bit heavier with the rain.

“But I’m really pleased that Craig came on and kept a clean sheet and did what he had to do.

"And Fordey popped up with a good goal at the end to make sure we could breathe a little easier.”

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