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

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.”

PIC­TURES: Pro Sport Im­ages

DEADLY: Goalscorer Tom Brad­shaw stars in Wal­sall vic­tory STAR MAN NEIL


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