Smith praises Saddlers striker...BOSS Dean Smith hailed star-striker Tom Bradshaw after his stunning late double gave Walsall a hard-fought 2-0 victory over managerless Doncaster.
The 23-year-old’s unstoppable volley put the Saddlers ahead with five minutes remaining, and he then produced an exquisite lob to seal the points in added time.
The result saw Walsall leapfrog Coventry, who lost 1-0 at Scunthorpe, and climb back up to second in League One.
And speaking afterwards, Smith heaped praise on his match-winner Bradshaw - the Club’s seven-goal top scorer.
“Sometimes you need a bit of magic from someone – and we got that with both finishes from Tom," said Smith.
“They were both quality finishes; great technique for the first and he had the audacity to dink a 6’4” goalkeeper for the second!
“He works very hard throughout the week, and is an even better player now than he was last season.
"With five minutes left I just felt one goal would be enough and I wanted us to keep pushing forward.
“We’ve won the game and I’m sat here with a smile on my face.”
Despite the win – Walsall’s first in three matches in all competitions – Smith was disappointed with his side’s performance, particularly in the first-half.
“Frustration was the word last week about the result,” said Smith.
"This time, I’m a lot happier with the result but more frustrated with the performance; last week’s performance was much better.
“We didn’t move the ball quick enough, and the tempo wasn’t there.
“We started the game really well for the first five minutes but then our passes started to go astray and we looked like we lacked a bit of confidence on the ball.
“It became slow and we became safe. And when that happens, you’re never going to pull people out when they’re playing with two banks of four.
“I got into them a bit at half-time because I was very disappointed in them. They didn’t look like a team third in the league. I said that they needed to entertain me as well as the fans.
“But in the second half we were a lot better.”
Bradshaw’s brace secured a welcome return to winning ways for Walsall following back-to-back defeats against Morecambe (JPT) and Bury.
Although Smith was pleased with the outcome, he felt it was harsh on Doncaster.
"I feel a bit sorry for them,” Smith admitted.
“I said last week that you don’t always get what you deserve. But Tom’s scored two unbelievable goals – and that’s what wins you football games.
“It was very important (to respond to recent results).
“We’ve got 16 points after seven games – it’s been a really, really good start and we need to try to maintain that.”