SMITH EX­CITED BY STRIKE DUO

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more To comment on this match go to http://boards. footy­mad.net/

WAL­SALL boss Dean Smith strug­gled to hide his ex­cite­ment at his new strike force as the Sad­dlers picked up where they left off last sea­son by rolling over a Tran­mere side la­belled ‘gut­less’ by their boss Ron­nie Moore.

Wal­sall only just missed out on the League One play-offs last term af­ter a 16-match un­beaten run at the start of 2013 but saw their at­tack torn apart this sum­mer.

Jamie Pater­son, top scorer Will Grigg and Fe­bian Brandy – with 40 goals be­tween them – all left but the re­turn­ing Craig West­carr and Chelsea loa­nee Mi­lan Lalkovic showed they can fill the void.

Smith said: “I al­ways be­lieved the peo­ple that we’ve got in could score goals and Mi­lan and Westy have done fan­tas­tic.

“When you throw two play­ers to­gether who know the game, you will al­ways get that. It’s a bright per­for­mance from the for­wards who I think can re­place the ones we’ve lost. Mi­lan will scare de­fend­ers with his pace.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to play against him. He’s fright­en­ing when he gets run­ning at you and is a great tal­ent.

“We came in at half-time hav­ing had 16 at­tempts on goal and if we took our chances we could have been out of sight. There’s some re­ally good signs and it’s a good start but I think we can get bet­ter.”

Wal­sall absolutely flew out of the blocks and were ahead in­side two min­utes, West­carr sweep­ing home James Cham­bers’ low cross from eight yards.

The Sad­dlers were ram­pant and skip­per Andy But­ler nod­ded inches wide while Rovers keeper Owain fon Wil­liams made smart saves to foil long-range ef­forts from Sam Man­tom and James Bax­en­dale.

Rovers could only hold out so long though and West­carr and Lalkovic com­bined well on 25 min­utes for the lat­ter to lash into the bot­tom cor­ner from 18 yards.

How­ever, Tran­mere were back in the game out of nowhere five min­utes from half-time as Andy Robin­son curled a su­perb free-kick into the top cor­ner from an un­likely an­gle.

Ryan Lowe forced Richard O’Don­nell into a fine fin­ger­tip save as Rovers al­most lev­elled but Wal­sall sealed the points 20 min­utes from time as Lalkovic teed up West­carr to poke home.

Re­turn­ing Tran­mere hero Ja­son Koumas hit the bar with a stop­page-time free-kick but an­gry Rovers boss Moore ad­mit­ted his side de­served noth­ing.

He fumed: “We can’t come and play and de­fend like we did in the first 25 min­utes.We were all over the place.

“Th­ese things can hap­pen in the first game of the sea­son but it’s wor­ry­ing when we per­formed the way we did.

“That per­for­mance was un­ac­cept­able. I don’t think there’s been a per­for­mance like that from Tran­mere for a num­ber of years – it was gut­less.

“It’s about big hearts – you’ve got to have com­mit­ment and de­sire, and we didn’t have

that.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

STUNNER: Andy Robin­son, left, scores the first goal for Tran­mere Rovers HIGH FIVE: Craig West­carr (sec­ond right) cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing the third goal for Wal­sall

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