James On Win

James Walker admits to having mixed feelings about the 3-2 win over his first club Notts. County on Tuesday night - but is delighted to have played his part in getting West Ham a draw with Chelsea in the next round.

"It was a couple of ugly goals we conceded, and I want to keep clean sheets as any goalkeeper does," he says.

"It was an ugly, no-win game again but the lads showed a lot of character to keep at it after giving them a couple of goals just after we had scored - maybe we could have settled it up a little bit after the goals and taken the pressure off.

"But we ground out a win for ourselves and got through to face Chelsea, which is the all-important thing.

"We probably scored our first too early!"

On the first goal, he says:

"He has headed it across, it has been hooked back, and when the header went in I was behind the line - it was a tight angle and a bit of a scruffy goal.

"I am not over-impressed about letting one like that in but we are in the next round and we have a nice draw."

On the second, scored by Hammers fan Ian Richardson, he adds:

"I tell you what, it was a good finish because I thought 'he is a centre half, he is just going to blast it'.

"I was waiting for a whistle for offside originally and it didn't come; I have gone down, but he showed a bit of culture to clip it in.

"It was one of those things - everyone has to be tuned in to what they are doing and one of us just played him onside."

James says the performance improved after the break and adds:

"The gaffer wasn't too happy at half time; we were huffing and puffing but it wasn't really happening.

"But in the second half I thought we came out well and deserved the win in the end, though the third goal was a bit unfortunate for their keeper.

"But Notts. County didn't surprise me because Southend came and gave us a tough match - they are banana skins.

"I have played against West Ham a few times when Walsall were underdogs and have run them close, but on Tuesday the boot was on the other foot for me."

James says a mitigating circumstance in the overall display was the fact that several players who were selected on Tuesday had not been in the side regularly.

"Maybe you are not quite right because you have not played the matches you would like to have played," he explains, "whereas if you had been playing regularly you would just sit back and do what you need to do.

"But everyone that has come in has tried to impress because they want to do it on the big stage of the league games when we are pushing for promotion.

"Maybe you are half a yard off the pace and it is difficult, but the more the game goes on the more you get into it; the reserves are nothing like the first team games and the league games are even a step up from the two Carling Cup games we have had.

"No disrespect to Notts., but if you were pushed into the first team against a big side the adrenaline takes over, but I don't like it when you have to talk to yourself to get yourself into the game, which, if you are on top of it you don't have to do."

The County Ground is where it all began for James, and he adds:

"That was my first club but I never made the first team; there was Steve Cherry there, and Kevin Blackwell so when Walsall came in we decided to go our separate ways.

"But I still look for their results and it is a shame to see them where they are at the moment, though after Tuesday I am sure they will pick up."