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O'DRISCOLL: 'WE THOROUGHLY DESERVED A POINT'

13 January 2016

Head coach pleased with 1-1 draw at Coventry...

Sean O’Driscoll felt Walsall “thoroughly deserved” a point after coming from behind to draw 1-1 against promotion-rivals Coventry.

Chris Stokes’ first-half header put the Sky Blues in front, but Tom Bradshaw’s late volley earned the Saddlers a share of the spoils.

The draw means Walsall stay third in League, a point ahead of Tony Mowbray’s Coventry and two points behind leaders Burton.

“We struggled in the first half – we had enough possession but we struggled to know what to do with it,” said O’Driscoll.

“We were grateful to get in at 1-0 down. But credit to the boys, in some senses they sorted it themselves.

“We had to get another forward on the pitch and get two up top.

“We played on the front foot and I said to them afterwards, ‘if you’re going to lose a game, lose it playing like we did in the second half because that’s how you can win it’.

“I thought we were fantastic in the second half, defensively and attacking-wise, especially after a difficult game on Saturday.

“I thought we thoroughly deserved a point.”

Walsall’s equaliser came with nine minutes remaining, when Bradshaw guided a wonderful volley into the corner from Rico Henry’s accurate cross.

“I actually thought it was Romaine who scored – I got it wrong!” admitted O’Driscoll.

“Tom’s a goalscorer. I did think, ‘do I take him off because we need a goal’.

“It was only his second game back so it was a bit of a dilemma and we had Jordan Cook on the bench as well.

“We decided to stick with Tom and play Jordan as well. We went for it and I’d much rather play like that than we did in the first half.”

The Saddlers were also indebted to in-form goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who made some crucial saves with the score at 1-0.

“He’s been terrific,” O’Driscoll added.

“He goes under the radar but has performed fantastic.

"There might be times when people say he’s made a mistake because he’s come for something that he shouldn’t have done.

“But overall, people would prefer that. He’s developing into a fine keeper.”

O’Driscoll’s first five league games as Walsall head coach have yielded 10 points.

And the 58-year-old is pleased with recent results.

"If someone had said to me after five games that we’d get ten points, I would have taken it," he said.

"If we get ten points from every five-game slot then you’re pretty much guaranteed promotion."

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