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ETHERIDGE DELIGHTED WITH CLEAN SHEET

28 November 2016

Keeper kept his fourth shut-out of the season in Southend stalemate...

Neil Etheridge was delighted to keep a clean sheet in the Saddlers’ goalless home draw with Southend. 

The Philippines international was in fine form against the Shrimpers, making smart first-half saves to deny Nile Ranger, Stephen McLaughlin and Anthony Wordsworth. 

His stand-out stop came midway through the second period when he raced off his line to smother McLaughlin’s effort after the Irish midfielder had gone through one-on-one. 

Walsall had chances too, with Andreas Makris’ near-post flick and Scott Laird’s deflected cross each rattling the woodwork, while Kieron Morris tested Mark Oxley with a rasping drive late on. 

Etheridge, though, was happy with a point – especially after Tuesday’s reverse at Rochdale. 

"I thought we did very well,” said the 26-year-old, who has now kept four shut-outs in League One this term. 

“After conceding four in midweek [at Rochdale], it’s always hard to bounce back. It’s a massive positive to keep a clean sheet against a team who have been scoring goals and winning games. 

“All credit to the players, Southend put us under pressure but it was fantastic for us to keep a clean sheet and it’s a good stepping stone for us to move on. 

“Maybe we could have nicked it, but it’s a great starter for us to kick on again for the rest of the season.” 

The Saddlers head to Bramall Lane tomorrow to take on third-placed Sheffield United, in what is our game in hand. 

Walsall beat the Blades 2-1 in the Checkatrade Trophy last month, courtesy of goals from Scott Laird and Amadou Bakayoko – and Etheridge is hoping for a repeat result. 

“They’ve been on a great run but we take each game as it comes,” the ex-Fulham keeper added. 

“I’m sure tactically we’ll be aware of what their strengths are, and the gaffer, like everyone else, will be looking at how we can break them down. 

“But if we can have another solid defensive performance, then it’s a great base for us to move on and hopefully we can nick a goal away from home. 

“Sheff Utd are a good team, but we’ve beaten them before and we’ll be looking to do that again on Tuesday night.”

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