TOM’S DOUBLE DELIGHTS DEAN
TOM Bradshaw added to his growing reputation with a brilliant late double as Walsall downed managerless Doncaster – with boss Dean Smith fully aware of his striker’s potential.
Bradshaw’s superb 85th-minute volley and sumptuous stoppage-time chip kept Walsall right among the early League One pacesetters.
The double took him to seven goals this season already and after bagging 20 last year, Smith knows he has a real match-winner.
Smith said: “Sometimes, when teams are as organised as Doncaster were, you need a bit of magic from someone – and we certainly had that with both of Tom’s finishes.
“I feel a bit sorry for Doncaster. I said last week when we lost to Bury that you don’t always get what you deserve but when people finish like Tom did, you have to take it on the chin.
“He’s scored two unbelievable goals and that’s what wins you football games.”
“I got into them a bit at half-time. We didn’t look like a team sitting third in the league.
“It looked like they were playing safe and I said they needed to entertain me as well as the fans. “I said to the players, ‘You were sat here recently having won six on the spin. Go and show me some more of that,’ – and in the second half we were a lot better.”
Doncaster had not netted on the road this season but had the better chances in an entertaining first half.
After Walsall full-back Jason Demetriou volleyed an early chance over eight yards out, Donny got on top as James Coppinger’s bicycle kick brought a fine low save from Saddlers keeper Neil Etheridge.
Curtis Main fizzed a screamer just wide from 25 yards and Etheridge reacted excellently to tip over Aaron Taylor-Sinclair’s vicious free-kick.
After the break, both keepers made fine saves, Etheridge tipping over a Coppinger rocket and Rovers stopper Thorsten Stuckmann pushing aside Andy Taylor’s low strike.
But five minutes from time, Rovers made a meal of clearing a ball into the box and Bradshaw connected beautifully with a stunning volley into the top corner.
And after Etheridge denied Doncaster again, pushing aside another Taylor-Sinclair piledriver, Bradshaw sublimely chipped Stuckmann to seal the points.
Defeat did caretaker manager and longserving Donny defender Rob Jones’ hopes of landing the job on a permanent basis little good but he remains positive.
Jones said: “It’s been a strange week for all of us but the boys have been magnificent. They have given me everything they possibly could. “Their keeper has got man of the match and made four or five fantastic saves – if one of those goes in, it changes the game.
“There’s things I need to work on but I’ve got a full week now to build my team and mould them into how I want to play.
“It’s been a whirlwind but I’ve loved every minute of it so far. I’m very passionate about this football club and we are working tirelessly hard to turn this around.”
DEADLY: Goalscorer Tom Bradshaw stars in Walsall victory STAR MAN NEIL