Etheridge performed like Banks, says Grant
IT WAS like coming up against Gordon Banks, bemoaned Grant McCann, as he saw his Peterborough United side denied by a goalkeeper who is being tipped for the highest level.
McCann was impressed but frustrated by Walsall stopper Neil Etheridge who made several excellent saves including a brilliant one-handed effort to keep out a Tom Nichols header.
It took a superb curling effort from Marcus Maddison to beat the Philippines international, ten minutes after Simeon Jackson had headed Walsall into the lead with his fourth goal of the season.
McCann said: “I felt we did enough to win the game, especially in the second half.
“We had to recover from conceding another sloppy goal, but we reacted well with a fantastic goal from Marcus and then we couldn’t find another way past one of the best goalkeepers in this league.
“It is frustrating because we really need to be winning our home games, but it is essential not to lose at home and we have managed to avoid that.
“I’d be more worried if we weren’t creating chances, but it is just a case of not taking enough of them while coming up against a keeper playing like Gordon Banks.”
Walsall led when Flo Cuvelier, on his return from injury, sent over a right-wing cross which Jackson glanced into the far post.
Maddison soon found the top corner from 20 yards out, but Etheridge then came to the fore, making excellent low saves from Paul Taylor and George Moncur before brilliantly denying Nichols.
The Saddlers nearly won it five minutes from time but Scott Laird’s shot struck the inside of the post and bounced out. Walsall boss Jon Whitney was not surprised by Etheridge’s performance. He said: “He does it day-in day-out. What we have said is we can’t keep expecting Neil to pull us out. He would like a quiet day I’m sure of it.
“He would like to spectate for one 90 minutes and hopefully that will come and we can turn a lot of our possession into goals.
“The performance last week against Bolton was probably better.
“He gets a lot of credit Neil, and he should do.
“I think he will go on and play at the highest level.”
Whitney was also disappointed Laird’s late effort did not sneak into the far corner, adding: “If that had gone in I probably would have been like David Pleat running down the side!”
STAR MAN NEIL ETHERIDGE Walsall