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6 March 2017

Saddlers grind out 2-0 victory...

Jon Whitney praised his players’ patience after the Saddlers’ 2-0 victory over nine-man Oldham. 

An Erhun Oztumer penalty and an Amadou Bakayoko stunner earned Whitney’s men a fifth consecutive home win against the relegation-troubled Latics. 

John Sheridan’s side played 74 minutes with ten men following Lee Croft’s 16th-minute dismissal for a horror studs-up challenge on Jason McCarthy. 

Brian Wilson was also sent off for two bookable offences with the score at 1-0. 

And Whitney was delighted with how his side stuck to the game plan and eventually managed to break down a well-organised, deep-lying opponent. 

“I said to the players before that I felt this would be our toughest game,” he said. 

“When you take the points they won from John Sheridan took over last year and this year, he’s averaging nearly two points game. We knew it would be a dangerous game with the way they play. 

“They keep two up top and know how to defend. They make it difficult for teams and grind out results. 

“It was important we stayed patient and battled when we needed because it’s difficult when a team banks in. 

“To break them down, you have be patient and move the ball really quickly – at times in the first half we didn’t, but when we did we created opportunities. 

“It was important at half-time not to come in with our heads down because we created some really good chances. 

“We had to keep patient and keep probing. The red cards add to the expectancy and almost put us in a lose-lose situation. 

“A lot of teams can’t handle it - and it took the pressure even more off Oldham. But I thought for that spell in the second half we defended really well, we stayed patient and got our chances.”

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