Left-back pleased to play pivotal role in away day victory...SADDLERS left-back, Andy Taylor, emerged as an unlikely goal-scoring hero during Tuesday evening’s thrilling 2-1 victory over Rochdale at Spotland.
The 29-year-old, who has notched just six goals in 269 career appearances, opened the scoring midway through the second half with a crisp right-foot volley from Milan Lalkovic’s pull-back.
Sam Mantom added the Saddlers’ second five minutes later before Calvin Andrew pulled one back for Rochdale late on.
Victory lifted Dean Smith’s unbeaten side up to third in League One, and Taylor was thrilled to have played a pivotal role in a hard-fought triumph.
“We deserved the win; we played really, really well,” said the Blackburn-born defender. “They’ve started the season well and play a really high tempo game.
“It’s a difficult place to go so we’re delighted with the win.
“It was nice to score and it was a really good team move as well. I slid the ball out to Milan and I carried on my run into the box. I don’t often find myself in there but it was a nice cut back which fell to me and the rest is history!
“I ran around for a bit not knowing what to do because I don’t usually find myself in that position!
“Personally, it’s brilliant to score but it’s even better when it’s in a winning performance. “The lads are tired but everyone’s buzzing, very confident and we’re playing some really good stuff at the minute.”
Keith Hill’s Dale, who previously boasted a 100% record in League One, threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Walsall in the closing stages but the determined visitors defended manfully to hold on.
“You can play fantastic for 80 minutes but then teams revert to Plan B, stick a couple of big lads up top and lump it forward,” said Taylor. “It happened at Southend – we dealt with it well there - and it happened again against Rochdale because they were trying to get back in the game.
“You’ve got to deal with that, especially in this league because a lot of teams do it. We dealt with it really well.
“Apparently, there was a phantom goal which I didn’t see. That gave them a lift and made the last ten minutes more difficult, but the lads were brilliant with their last-ditch defending at the end.
“You need that and it bodes well for the future.”
The Spotland success was the Saddlers’ third consecutive victory on the road this season, following 4-3 and 2-0 wins against Nottingham Forest and Southend respectively.
With early table-toppers Coventry visiting Banks’ Stadium on Saturday, Taylor is now hoping to replicate that winning form on home soil.
“In every game there are three points up for grabs, and whether we’re home or away, we go into every game looking to win,” said Taylor. “We’ve had three really good away performances and three wins, and we’ll try to take our away form into Saturday.
“It’ll be another tough game because Coventry are flying but it’s a game we’re really looking forward to.”