Scotia Smith's match report...
On an absolutely freezing afternoon, Walsall came up against high-flying Bristol Rovers. A crowd of just over 6000, including nearly 2000 Gasheads turned up to see if Walsall could build on a great result the previous week when league leaders, Sheffield United, were thrashed 4-1.
The early stages were very quiet and if anything, Bristol was slightly on top. As usual, super goalie, Etheridge, had to make two great saves to keep it even. Walsall then sprung to life…
GOAL! A minute before half-time Walsall won a free kick in midfield. The ball was launched into the box and new boy O’Connell smashed in a cracking left foot volley. It was his first goal for The Saddlers. Let’s hope it’s the first of many.
Rovers came out in the second half determined to get back in the game. The piled on the pressure and brought on a few subs to change things. JW did likewise, swopping Bakayoko for Jackson.
GOAL! In the 67th minute, Jackson, who had just come on, was put through one on one with the keeper. He very coolly lobbed the ball over him to make it 2 nil. The Saddlers were on fire now…
GOAL! Next, the superb Edwards stole the ball off one of their defenders and raced forward to smash in a third goal for the home team.
As the game wound down, JW brought on Makris and Dobson for Oztumer and Cuvelier. Despite a late Rovers’ consolation goal, Walsall ran out worthy winners.
In the press conference, JW was in good spirits. He was especially happy with his midfielders, although O’Connell was the official Man of the Match.
It’s away trips to Bury and Millwall up next for The Mighty Saddlers….