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SMITH: 'WE WERE EXCELLENT'

12 October 2015

Boss pleased with table-topping Saddlers...

Walsall manager Dean Smith hailed his side’s 'excellent' performance after they beat Burton 2-0 to go top of League One.

Liam Kinsella’s well-taken low drive and Tom Bradshaw’s last-minute penalty secured the points – moving the Saddlers above their opponents on goal difference.

Walsall, who possess the best defensive record in England’s top four divisions (just six goals conceded), have taken 25 points from their opening 12 matches.

"It was a deserved win,” said Smith.

“We were excellent, in the first half especially.

"We moved the ball well and looked really organised, which has been key for us this season. It has given us the platform to score goals and keep clean sheets.

“Everyone played well and that's the sign of a good team.

"All of the subs who came on put a shift in and it was one of the strongest benches I've had in a long time.

“We’re 12 games in now and have only lost one game.

“We deserve a lot of credit for how we’re playing and the results we’ve had.

"We’ve had a lot of publicity for being where we are but we want to be there in May – that’s when the prizes are given out."

With right-back Jason Demetriou away on international duty with Cyprus, 19-year-old Kinsella was handed his first league start of the season.

And the promising defender didn’t disappoint, scoring his first senior goal to give Walsall a first-half lead.

"He’s a good finisher,” said Smith.

“Those who watch our U21s games will have seen some of the goals he’s scored.

“He was excellent and got a great block in at the end as well. Defensively he was very good and going forward he was always an out ball for us.

“He’s a pleasure to work with and his attitude and application is brilliant.”

Goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray also came into the side and produced an assured performance between the posts.

"I'm really pleased that he kept a clean sheet," said Smith.

"It will give him a boost because he was unfortunate to concede three goals during the last international break; he had no chance with any of them.

"Neil Etheridge (who was on international duty with the Philippines) has also been playing really well.

"To only concede six league goals in 12 games is a credit to the whole team."

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