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PRESTON: A GREAT FEELING

23 March 2016

Defender scored a dramatic winner against Colchester...

It has been quite a few days for young centre-back Matt Preston.

The 21-year-old yesterday put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension at the Banks’s – just three days after his match-winning contribution against Colchester.

Preston started on the bench against the U’s before being introduced as an 18th-minute substitute for the injured James O’Connor.

Few would have predicted the impact he would make.

With Walsall trailing 1-0 to Alex Gilbey’s first-half header, Preston was sent up front late on and provided the assist for Tom Bradshaw’s 89th-minute leveller.

And then, deep in added time, the tough-tackling defender hammered home a dramatic winner to clinch our first home success of 2016.

“It was a great feeling!” admitted Preston, who was also named in the Football League’s Team of the Week, as well as the Football League Paper’s League One Team of the Day.

"Obviously I didn't want James O'Connor to get injured but it was a nice surprise to get on and to get a goal and an assist was a big achievement.

“A few of the more experienced players – Romaine Sawyers, Paul Downing and Jason Demetriou - were telling me to go up front as we didn’t seem to be getting very far.

“Because it was late in the game, they thought to push me up to add a different dimension to our game so we could go a bit longer.

"I wanted to try and flick on some balls and it was great to see it work when Tom scored. He made a run off my shoulder and I’ve tried to knock it into his path as best I can and he finished it well.

"Most teams would have felt it wasn't going to be their day but this team, we keep going and that belief paid off.

“We didn’t play as well as we would have liked but getting that goal with a minute left - it felt like we’d won at Wembley!”

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