Saddlers keep their away-day run going
WALSALL boss Dean Smith says true grit was to thank after his side stretched their unbeaten away league run to seven games.
The Saddlers picked up three points at Doncaster thanks to a disciplined performance, with goals from Jordan Cook and debutant Jordy Hiwula.
Smith's troops haven't lost away from home in League One since midOctober and afterwards he praised his side's hard work as they moved to within three points of the play-off spots.
“It was a tough performance because we were playing against a decent team and we had to be strong,” said Smith.
“To keep a clean sheet, with the power that they've got in the box, was excellent.
“The lads put an awful lot of hard work into the performance and they got their rewards.
“There was some sloppy bits and we were a bit loose at times on the ball but we certainly broke at pace and looked a danger each time.”
Rovers manager Paul Dickov was left frustrated at his side's defending and says standards have slipped.
“We didn't quite meet the standards that the team has set recently,” he said.
“For the first goal people have just switched off.
“That gave Walsall a massive boost and gave them something to hang
on to and gives us a mountain to climb right at the start of the game.
“Their keeper made a few good saves and we had a few cleared off line.
“In the second half we started on the front foot, hit the post and had a couple of chances.
“If one of them goes in then it's a different story.
“But the defending for the second goal, with the experience we've got back there, is poor.”
Cook's goal came with just three minutes on the clock and shellshocked the hosts.
The forward peeled away from his marker at a corner and directed a shot into the goal, despite the efforts of Rovers' stopper Stephen Bywater.
The hosts' response saw them bombard the Walsall goal in the hope of a quickfire equaliser.
Andy Butler went close to an equaliser before Anthony Forde's effort deflected off the bar as Walsall pushed.
Doncaster came out for the second half in bullish mood and Uche Ikpeazu powered his way past James O'Connor before drawing not one, but two saves by O'Donnell.
Ikpeazu then saw a shot cannon back off a post, before the visitors grabbed a killer second.
Jordy Hiwula had only been on the pitch for four minutes when he headed home Cook's precise cross to secure the victory for Smith's men.
STAR MAN JORDA
N COOK Walsal