Sad­dlers re­turn to haunt old boss Dean

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Jamie Reid

SEAN O’DRISCOLL praised his side’s spirit af­ter Wal­sall knocked Brent­ford – and for­mer Sad­dlers boss Dean Smith – out of the FA Cup.

The League One pro­mo­tion chasers booked their spot in the fourth round thanks to Sam Man­tom’s first-half strike, and af­ter the game the Wal­sall boss re­vealed his de­light with the af­ter­noon’s work.

“I thought we were to­gether as a team and we un­der­stood what we needed to do,” O’Driscoll said.“I thought we showed a lot of char­ac­ter to­day in cer­tain cir­cum­stances.

“Ev­ery­body is pleased with the way we’ve ap­proached the game and I keep say­ing to the play­ers that if you look at the game for what it is, then we can be con­sis­tent in our ap­proach.”

Man­tom scored the game’s only goal when, on 34 min­utes, he picked up Paul Down­ing’s pass mid­way into the Brent­ford half.The mid­fielder turned to­wards goal and curled home a de­light­ful left-foot ef­fort past the out­stretched David But­ton.

The Bees im­proved in the se­cond pe­riod, and af­ter fac­ing just one shot on tar­get in the first half, vis­it­ing goal­keeper Neil Etheridge pulled off a string of fine saves to deny Smith’s side.

De­spite be­ing un­der heavy pres­sure for much of the se­cond pe­riod, O’Driscoll’s team re­mained res­o­lute and were able to keep their Cham­pi­onship hosts at bay.

“There are a lot of in­tan­gi­bles at Wal­sall where you’re try­ing to work out what they are,” he con­tin­ued.

“I think we showed some of them here, and you can’t quite put your fin­ger on it, but when you get a goal up we’re a dif­fi­cult team to beat.”

Brent­ford boss Smith – who left the Sad­dlers to join Brent­ford just 40 days be­fore the tie – cut a frus­trated fig­ure and lamented his team’s firsthalf dis­play, but said they must move on quickly and turn their fo­cus back to the league.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed with how we played in the first half. The play­ers were told that at half-time,” Smith said.

“Se­cond half, I’ll have that all day long. I thought our in­ten­sity was bet­ter, our tempo was bet­ter and given an­other day we’d have scored the goals that would have won us the tie – let alone taken it to a re­play.

“But we didn’t take our chances in the se­cond half and we can’t play how we did in the first.

“I said to the play­ers that any game you go into you can’t start like that. I know the play­ers at Wal­sall and I know they’re a good team.

“I can’t change the re­sult. I can’t change any­thing that’s al­ready gone. All I can do now is pre­pare for Mid­dles­brough on Tues­day.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages



Portsmouth DEAD­LOCKED: Luke Var­ney tussles with Adam Web­ster IN­SET: Conor Chap­lin cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing Pom­pey’s se­cond goal



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