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DOWNING: SET-PIECE PRACTICE PAID OFF

3 May 2016

Defender scored in Fleetwood win...

Centre-back Paul Downing was pleased to see Walsall's work on set-pieces pay off in the 3-1 victory over struggling Fleetwood.

The 24-year-old defender netted the Saddlers’ second goal on 18 minutes with a powerful close-range volley from Anthony Forde’s left-wing corner.

Walsall looked dangerous from dead-ball situations throughout – and Downing revealed the team had been practicing them in training.

“We worked on set pieces at the training ground on Sunday and it just shows you it pays off,” said Downing.

“I was really happy to score. It was a great ball in from Fordey and I managed to get across my man and volley it in.

“The way we play and the way we dominate the ball, we always end up having a lot of corners. It’s important we don’t waste them and just run up there thinking we’re not going to score.

“That’s something Whits (Jon Whitney) has been big on since he got control and we’ve started working on them more and more in training.

“We’ve also done the video analysis of how the opposition set up so it’s a strength we need to keep working on and improving on.”

Tom Bradshaw and Romaine Sawyers were also on target for Walsall, who remain in with a chance of winning automatic promotion to the Championship.

“We were really happy with the performance,” Downing added.

“There was a bit of pressure on us at the start of the game with Burton winning and us needing to win to keep our automatic promotion hopes alive.

“For Fleetwood, they’re fighting near the bottom so it was an important game for them as well.

“But the way we started the game was fantastic and it set the tone for the rest of the game. The game plan was always to be aggressive and for us, that’s on the ball and the way we move it.

“We started quickly against Shrewsbury on Tuesday and it’s important to set your stall out for the game, which we did.

“We locked them out well at the back and dominated the game in their half. We got two early goals and it’s always a long way back then.”

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