In the latest of his regular columns, Hillary Street-Ender takes a look back at the Saddlers' recent winning performances over Preston North End and Doncaster Rovers, before looking ahead to this weekend's big game.
In the latest of his regular columns, Hillary Street-Ender takes a look back at the Saddlers' recent winning performances over Preston North End and Doncaster Rovers, before looking ahead to this weekend's big game.

How lovely it’s felt to have basked in the afterglow of the Donny Rovers game, to know that we played well and deserved our convincing victory. Sexy football was back on the menu and we looked a decent side once more, the return of the ever-more-popular Tommy Bradders giving us so much more threat going forward. Of course, pretty much the same things could be said for the Preston game a fortnight earlier, a win that provided cause for optimism among the fans and put a spring in the step of all connected with the club. Against the Lilywhites we seemed to have taken a large step forward and to have provided the performance, and gained the outcome, that would see us put our poor start to the new campaign behind us and from where we might just kick on toward better times. Only things didn’t quite pan out that way.

Apart from them both providing us with a much-needed win the big difference between the two games was that the players, manager and coaching staff weren’t afforded any time to dwell on the Preston result, no time for lengthy study of the match footage and to analyse what we’d done right with our next fixture coming along in quick order in the shape of a trip to HotPotLand to face newly-promoted Roch-er-dale. The absence of Adam Chambo and Tommy Bradders certainly left us in something of a stew at Spotland and we all know what transpired. Just when a week-long gap between games would have allowed time for injuries to possibly clear up and for closer perusal of what had gone so right against North End we were denied it and suffered accordingly. Sometimes when a side has achieved a notable win the best thing can be for the next game to come around as quickly as possible but this was a week when we really, really could have done without a mid-week fixture. It can’t half be a cruel game at times.

This week, however, Deano and the boys will have enjoyed the luxury of being able to look at the Donny performance for several days and to decide how best to try to build on it during what will probably be our stiffest test of the season so far when Brizzle stop off in WS1 this Saturday. Special mention, I feel, must be made of young Romaine for what was probably his best performance in our colours so far, laying on two of the goals and generally looking a cut above most of those out there, his pass into space for Bradders to side-foot home our second was worthy of a higher stage and we’ll all look forward to seeing some more of that. Brizzle will have watched the game so might well detail someone to try to knock him out of his stride, something the young man will have to learn to live with if he’s going to play the way he did in this game. It must also be said that we look a much more threatening, potent team when young Tom is out there, all of his goals so far being of the type that mean defenders can’t ignore him for a second with his all-out effort winning appreciation from us fans from very early on. He probably won’t realise what a huge compliment it is to be compared favourably to Jorge Leitao but his repeated harrying of defenders and refusal to see anything as a lost cause mean that the similarities are there for all to see. Such a reliance on his presence is slightly worrying so we’ll have to cross our fingers that he can remain pretty much injury-free.

While it would be daft to go overboard about one performance it must be said that the Donny game saw the return of much that has been admirable during Deano’s tenure and when we play the way we did in the second half – we’d done well in the first half, dominating but seeming not to have a goal in us until Jimmy Bax chipped in – then we have the capability to turn over any opponent. We could just do with doing so a bit more often.
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