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James Baxendale delighted by Walsall strike

Walsall | Sport | Published:

Midfielder James Baxendale today reflected on his first Walsall goal in more than a year and admitted "it was a long time coming."

He also laughed off any talk of family fallouts after breaking his scoring duck against hometown club Doncaster Rovers.

Baxendale's opener set the Saddlers on their way to a convincing 3-0 win at the Banks's Stadium on Saturday.

The 22-year-old also spent a season at Rovers before joining the Saddlers in 2012 but says he never considered not celebrating his long-awaited strike, despite it coming against a former club.

"I was just pleased to score," he said. "You get that feeling don't you – you work all week as an attacking player to score and then when you do it is just so pleasing.

"It has been a long time coming and I feel like I am getting back to where I want to be. It was nice to get the goal and it is something I want to continue."

Baxendale had Rovers supporting family and friends at the game but does not expect any falling outs after playing a key role in his former club's downfall.

His goal in first half stoppage time was followed by second half strikes for Tom Bradshaw and Anthony Forde as the Saddlers made it back-to-back home wins.

"I had a couple of fans in either end," said Baxendale. "They know how hard I work so I think they will let me off.

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"It was nice. A bit of personal joy for myself but first and foremost it is another home victory and something we can build on.

"Six goals in the last two home games is something to get excited about."

Manager Dean Smith felt there was a noticeable improvement in Baxendale's performance after the goal.

"He has another 90 minutes again and you could just see the sheer relief that came from scoring," said Smith. "I think his second half performance was excellent.

"I thought in the first half he did okay and the goal gave him the boost which he needed."

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