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29 February 2016

Walsall held at promotion-rivals Burton...

Head coach Sean O’Driscoll praised his side’s organisation, discipline and professionalism after the goalless draw at League One leaders Burton.

Chances were at a premium in a cagey top-of-the-table encounter, with both sides cancelling each other out for long periods.

Walsall fashioned the better opportunities, with Romaine Sawyers, Paul Downing and Jason Demetriou each testing home keeper Jon McLaughlin.

A draw means the Saddlers remain fourth in League One, six points behind table-topping Burton.

“We were organised, disciplined and professional,” said O'Driscoll afterwards.

“I’ve watched a number of games here at Burton where teams have fallen into a trap of trying to play when there’s no space.

“They play from a defensive shape and they do it really well. We created the better chances and it was a different kind of performance from what we’ve put in before.

“There wasn’t a lot of free-flowing football as there was no space on the pitch for that to happen, but I thought we were excellent in what we did.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t win because we felt the moments of quality in the game came from us.

“But there were loads of positives from it and the level of performance again, regardless of the result, has been really high.”

The Saddlers defended stoutly to record their first league clean sheet of 2016, with centre-backs Paul Downing and the returning James O’Connor solid throughout.

“Paul and Jimmy have played together all season so as soon as Jim was fit, he was going to come straight back into it,” said O’Driscoll.

“They complement each other, which is what you want – you want good pairings all over the pitch.

“It’s nice to keep a clean sheet. We wanted to be solid defensively against a team who are also solid defensively.”

Walsall are back in league action against mid-table Scunthorpe at the Banks’s Stadium tomorrow evening.

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