Dickov is up­set by am­a­teur de­fend­ing

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

DIS­GUSTED Don­caster man­ager Paul Dickov warned his play­ers to stop think­ing they are bet­ter than they are – or risk be­com­ing in­volved in another rel­e­ga­tion scrap.

Rovers were rel­e­gated from the Cham­pi­onship last sea­son and, on this per­for­mance, look more likely to suf­fer back-to­back de­mo­tions than to bounce back up.

They failed to trou­ble Walsall keeper Richard O’Don­nell all af­ter­noon and shipped three goals at the other end, forc­ing Dickov to apol­o­gise to the trav­el­ling Donny faith­ful.

The fum­ing boss said: “The goal we con­ceded in first-half in­jury time was just am­a­teur­ish re­ally, giv­ing a stupid free-kick away and then peo­ple switch­ing off yet again.

“It’s some­thing that’s hap­pened time and time again, we are work­ing on it on the train­ing ground, but the play­ers have to be re­cep­tive to it on a con­sis­tent ba­sis.

“Our per­for­mance in the sec­ond half on Tues­day night at Ful­ham was fan­tas­tic but maybe some of the play­ers think we are a re­ally good team overnight.

“It doesn’t work like that - if you don’t run harder, work harder, do the ba­sics right, you are go­ing to get beaten.Walsall did all of those bet­ter than us and that’s the most dis­ap­point­ing thing.

“I can make ex­cuses but I can’t stick up for the sec­ond half per­for­mance to­day. My­self, the staff and play­ers will be tak­ing a good look at our­selves this week be­cause it just wasn’t good enough.”

Walsall went ahead on the stroke of half-time with the lone mo­ment of qual­ity of a dire first half, Ro­maine Sawyers tee­ing up ex-Donny young­ster James Baxendale to score.

The Sad­dlers im­proved after the break but Don­caster some­how got worse, Bradshaw slid­ing home a Sawyers cross from six yards be­fore An­thony Forde’s free-kick flew in off the post.

While Rovers clearly missed in­jured striker Nathan Tyson, Sad­dlers boss Dean Smith was de­lighted to wel­come back Bradshaw, who re­turned from a ham­string nig­gle to bag his fifth goal of the sea­son.

Smith said: “It’s not been a great start points-wise for us but our per­for­mances have been ok in a lot of the games – what’s been miss­ing is goals so Tom was a shooin to come straight back in. He could prob­a­bly have added more than the one to­day. He’s a ter­rific player, he oc­cu­pies two cen­tre-backs – in fact, at times, he oc­cu­pies the whole back four with his en­er­getic run­ning. I can’t speak highly enough of him. He’s a man­ager’s dream.

“It was a very good per­for­mance from the whole team. I thought we con­trolled the game, scored some good goals as well and the back four were su­perb too.”

STAR MAN RO­MAI

NE SAWYE

RS Wal­sal

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