The Boss's take on "excellent" victory...
JUBILANT Saddlers boss, Dean Smith, praised his players’ resilience after they recorded a battling 2-1 victory over an energetic Rochdale side at Spotland.
Two goals in five second-half minutes from Andy Taylor and Sam Mantom – his second in as many matches – put Walsall in control of an enthralling encounter.
Calvin Andrew’s contentious goal, which didn’t appear to cross the line, gave Rochdale hope but Smith’s men weathered a late aerial bombardment to secure a third successive away win.
“You’ve got a tough game when you go to Rochdale,” said Smith afterwards. “Keith Hill’s got them riled; they don’t give you any time, no respite at all. You have to work hard for everything you get.
“I was really pleased with the resilience we showed at the end.
“A lot of people have told us that we can’t defend crosses but we defended well in the last ten minutes at Southend,when they put lots of balls in our box, and in the last ten minutes here.
“We’re showing a lot of character and resilience at the moment.
“First half, I thought we were excellent; we played some really good football, we just didn’t get a finish. They were always a threat on the counter and had their best period before we scored. It was a great move and a great finish from Tayls. Sam’s got two in two as well.
“I’ve seen their goal again and it appears to be a ghost goal. I can’t see how the linesman can give that, but he has, and we’ve had to battle hard to get the result.”
Victory maintained the Saddlers’ unbeaten start to the 2015/16 campaign, lifting them up to third ahead of the weekend visit of leaders Coventry.
“It’ll be really tough but a proper football game as that’s how Tony Mowbray sets his teams up,” Smith commented.
“It’s a game we’re looking forward to. With how they’re doing, they’ll bring a good following so hopefully there’ll be a really good atmosphere in the ground and we can perform like we have done on the road.”