Jon Whitney and hat-trick hero Erhun Oztumer both thanked the Saddlers supporters who braved the conditions to make the lengthy journey to Southend United on Saturday.
Despite the Beast from the East hitting the country at the back-end of last week, Southend’s team of volunteers (which also included a Saddlers fan!) worked tirelessly to ensure the game went ahead.
And 119 Walsall fans made the journey despite the conditions, and were treated to a fine victory - Erhun Oztumer’s first professional hat-trick securing a deserved 3-0 win for Whitney’s side at Roots Hall.
Manager Whitney was keen to thank the supporters after Saturday’s game - and hopes the victory made the lengthy drive back worthwhile.
“I think they deserve an immense about of credit,” said Whitney.
“All the advice was to not go out of the house and I can see why (with the) crazy weather.
“But its great for them because they’ve been rewarded with a great performance, and considering the pitch and the conditions I thought we played some good football - attractive, attacking football.
“I’d like to say a big thank-you to them and hopefully we have put a smile on their face.”
Oztumer was also delighted to have been able to celebrate his first three-goal haul in the professional game with the fans who were able to travel.
“It’s really impressive - the fans are really important to us,” said the top scorer.
“Obviously it’s hard for them to come down but 119 fans came down and hopefully they enjoyed that on Saturday.
“We were looking forward to this to be fair. We came a day early and it was a little bit different, coming down in the morning, but it was a bit better as we had more time to relax and prepare.”
And Oztumer was understandably pleased with the hat-trick itself - although admitted he will have to wait to get his hands on the match ball!
“I’m really delighted with the hat-trick - in these conditions it can be difficult to play but to score three goals is great, especially away from home,” added Oztumer. “It’s a great feeling.
“The kitman, Tom Bradley, has taken the match ball!
“We didn’t have a pen for all the lads to sign it, but I’m sure I’ll frame it when I get it.”