Article excerpt

Byline: Ian GIBB

IT WAS a great day to be an Australian as striker David Zdrilic sent Walsall into the fifth round of the FA Cup for the second year running.

The 28-year-old frontman, signed on a free from German club Unterhaching, had been inspired to take his chance by his compatriots' licking of England in the one-day cricket series earlier in the day.

He said: "That's just made it a perfect day for me.

"We always love putting one over England in the cricket and to score the winner in an FA Cup tie made it twice as nice for me."

Zdrilic, who notched his fifth goal in only seven starts, probably wouldn't have figured in the starting line-up but for the absence of Brazilian Junior, who is trying to sort out a new work permit.

But in a tight contest it was Zdrilic who came up with the crucial breakthrough on 75 minutes when he steered the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

It was also a cause for celebration for manager Colin Lee, who has now taken the Saddlers to the last 16 for the second year in succession.

Lee now wants to make history with the club: "A lot of people assume I want Wolves, my old club, in the fifth round, but I'm not really bothered.

"Financially of course we, like everyone else, want Manchester United away, but that wouldn't give us much chance of progressing.

"I'd just like to take Walsall into the sixth round for the first time in their history.

"It would be nice to get recognition for what we are doing here, surviving in the First Division for playing decent football." Playing decent football should have been well nigh impossible on the notorious Bescot Stadium pitch yesterday.

Thankfully it is being torn up and replaced before the next home game.

Lee added: "I had two teams in mind for this game: one to play open football, and the other needed to be more solid if the surface wasn't very good.

"I had to opt for the latter and this game was always going to be decided by one goal.

Lee praised Zdrilic, saying: "David took his chance and he was the perfect player in the situation to come up with the winner. …