The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ned Bris­tow

SEAN O’Driscoll was thrilled with his side’s ma­tu­rity as they weath­ered a se­cond-half fight­back to main­tain their im­pres­sive away record.

Lead­ing 3-0 at the break thanks to Chris Hussey’s own goal and strikes from Tom Brad­shaw and An­thony Forde, Wal­sall were pegged back by a quick­fire Leon Clarke dou­ble, but held on for an eighth League One away win of the sea­son.

The vic­tory is O’Driscoll’s fifth in seven games since tak­ing charge of the Sad­dlers, and he be­lieves his play­ers showed two im­pres­sive sides to their game.

“I’m de­lighted with the way we played with the ball in the first half and with­out it in the se­cond half,” O’Driscoll said.

“I thought we con­trolled pos­ses­sion and cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties all af­ter­noon, and even at 3-2 we looked like get­ting a fourth.

“We didn’t panic and it wasn’t as if we were hang­ing in there.We were nice and com­posed.

“Credit to Bury, they stuck the ball in dan­ger­ous ar­eas where it’s dif­fi­cult to de­fend.

“Games can change quickly and that was just the way it went, so we aren’t beat­ing our­selves up about con­ced­ing.

“But we didn’t lose con­cen­tra­tion, and we are de­lighted to come through.”

Wal­sall opened the scor­ing with 17 min­utes gone, as Hussey in­ex­pli­ca­bly poked Andy Tay­lor’s men­ac­ing low cross into his own net at the far post.

It was a day to for­get for the hosts’ full-backs as Forde caught Joe Ri­ley in pos­ses­sion on the half hour, squar­ing for Brad­shaw to calmly slot his tenth goal of the cam­paign from six yards out.

Bury failed to find the killer ball and Neil Etheridge mar­shalled his area with con­vic­tion, and three min­utes be­fore the break the im­pres­sive Forde out­mus­cled Hussey be­fore lash­ing home a left­footed drive across goal.

But Bury burst into life five min­utes af­ter the hour mark, when Clarke slid in to con­vert John O’Sul­li­van’s low ball at the far post.

And Clarke struck again less than a minute later, pounc­ing on the re­bound af­ter Danny Mayor stung the palms of Etheridge.

Wal­sall looked to steady the ship and squan­dered chances to seal it, be­fore the wood­work de­nied Clarke a hat-trick on 83 min­utes and con­demned Bury to a fourth straight league de­feat.

De­spite their slump in form, Shak­ers boss David Fl­itcroft re­fused to make ex­cuses for his side’s lat­est de­feat and ad­mits they were below par in de­fence.

He said:“I won’t al­low the team to be­come vic­tims. Th­ese blips hap­pen with ev­ery team, but I be­lieve that is an ex­cuse and not a rea­son. We have got good play­ers out there. “De­fen­sively, their goals were as poor as we have con­ceded and will con­cede this sea­son. We are dis­ap­pointed with the first-half per­for­mance.

“The se­cond half was spir­ited and there are pos­i­tives to take.We were more force­ful and got the ball for­ward ear­lier.

“We are in a run of form that none of us are used to – as a club, as fans and cer­tainly as a group of play­ers.

“In tough times you see the peo­ple that want to come out fight­ing.”

PIC­TURES: Mark Pol­litt/Pro Sport

HE’S BACK: Fit-again Wal­sall striker Tom Brad­shaw hits the tar­get

DE­SPAIR: Bury goal­keeper Ian Lawlor


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