Sad­dlers keep their away-day run go­ing

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ricky Charlesworth

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

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