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O'DRISCOLL HAILS 'EXCELLENT' WALSALL

11 January 2016

Saddlers in round four after beating Brentford...

Sean O’Driscoll heaped praise on his players after Walsall beat Dean Smith’s Brentford 1-0 to reach the FA Cup fourth round.

Sam Mantom’s superb first-half strike settled an entertaining third-round tie and earned the Saddlers a hard-earned victory over their former boss.

Walsall have now beaten three Championship sides this season and are in the fourth round for the first time since 2006.

"The result is a credit to the players,” said O’Driscoll afterwards.

“We looked at the Rochdale game – not so much tactically but emotionally – when we came up against a team that were determined to stop us playing.

“I think we learned our lesson.

“We came here and were aware that Brentford would try to do the same and we had to be a little bit smarter.

“I thought we were excellent.

“We made good decisions and it is credit to Dean (Smith) and Richard (O’Kelly) that this group have got tremendous spirit and that showed in the second half.”

Walsall’s winning goal came on 34 minutes, when Mantom curled a delightful left-footed shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

“It was a wonderful strike,” O’Driscoll added.

“He was a bit unlucky not to get another one in the second-half.

“He has had to bide his time a little bit with the team doing well and he’s been chomping at the bit to get into the team.”

O’Driscoll also paid tribute to the outstanding Neil Etheridge, who made a string of impressive second-half saves to keep Brentford at bay.

“He has been excellent in every game he's played,” said O’Driscoll.

“He’s a front-foot goalkeeper. He’s athletic and isn’t going to stand and wait for things to happen. He commits himself and is a fine prospect.”

The Saddlers face Midlands rivals Coventry in a top-of-the-table League One clash tomorrow evening (kick-off 7.45pm).

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