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Club News


24 September 2015

Defender on target against cup holders...

An emotional James O’Connor dedicated his goal against Chelsea to his late grandfather Frank Steele, who passed away on the eve of the game.

Goals from Ramires and Loic Remy put Chelsea in charge, before O’Connor pulled one back for the Saddlers in first-half injury time.

Second-half strikes from Kenedy and Pedro secured a flattering 4-1 win for the League Cup holders.

Despite the scoreline, Walsall played their part in an entertaining Capital One Cup third round tie.

And O’Connor - the sponsors’ Man of the Match - was pleased to get his name on the scoresheet, especially after a difficult time for his family.

“It was fate,” said the central defender.

“It’s been an emotional few days. Unfortunately, I lost my grandad on Tuesday morning.

“I had a feeling I might pop up with a goal. I want to dedicate it to him.

“He was a big part of my life and my football career. It’s been a tough time for my family in the last couple of days.

“It was a good job it was half-time so I could compose myself a bit as I was overcome with emotion.

“But it was a nice moment for me and my family.”

Unfortunately, O’Connor’s strike – his first of the season - couldn’t inspire an improbable comeback.

But the 30-year-old, who came away with Radamel Falcao’s shirt, was encouraged by how Walsall acquitted themselves against the Premier League champions.

“We gave it a really good go,” said O’Connor.

“The performance was really positive against a top class team.

“We did some good things in the first half but Chelsea were outstanding. Their movement was phenomenal and they were very disciplined.

“But we can learn so much from the game.

“It was a big opportunity for a lot of our players, particularly the young lads, to show what they can do and I thought they did that.

“Romaine (Sawyers) was the best player on the pitch – and he’s a Walsall player!

“It wouldn’t have surprised me had a few of their players been asking for his shirt because he was phenomenal.

“But it was a really good performance from us.

“We gave a good account of ourselves and we can move on to Crewe now and hopefully carry on our good form in the league.”

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