Walsall defender James Clarke insists practice makes perfect after scoring on his Saddlers debut in the victory at Northampton Town.
Clarke scored the only goal of the game in the Walsall's Sky Bet League Two opener against the Cobblers and played a key role in helping Darrell Clarke’s men earn a clean sheet.
The 29-year-old stressed the importance of getting three points on the board after day one and was pleased to score only his third league goal of his career.
“It was the only way I was going to score a goal,” Clarke said.
“It's a great result for us, especially away from home and a clean sheet.
“It’s massive, that game was scrappy.
“There will be scrappier games, there will be games where more football is played.
“It’s really tough to get your first win at the start of the season because you never know how games are going to go, so we’re delighted with the three points.”
The defender scored with a looping header which took a few moments to drop into the net but he was satisfied that hard work on the training ground paid off and was relieved to see the ball drop into the net.
“I kept checking; Josh was going to strike so I was screaming for him to leave it,” he revealed.
“It’s something you work on; but I feel like if you work on things and practise things, they’ll come off for you on the pitch.
"If you don’t practise them then they’re not going to work for you on the pitch so I’m a big believer in that.”
Clarke also had a positive impact at the other end and felt the Saddlers showed resilience to grind out the result.
“We defended really well today against big lads in their team from set plays so we were very ruthless at both ends,” he commented.
“Ruthless is probably the word to you want to describe your team because that’s how the gaffer is building us to be.
“I think it shows that we’re strong and we’re not a team that’s going to buckle under pressure. A lot of pressure was put on us but we saw it out and we didn’t cave in.”
There were 1,455 Saddlers fans who packed out the away end at Sixfields and Clarke says the squad were spurred on by the travelling fans.
“It’s unbelievable to be fair. I saw on Twitter how many tickets we sold and it looked a hell of a lot more.
“When we came out it felt like we were at home.
They got behind the lads, supported us and I think the gaffer said it’s time to get a bit of pride back in the shirt as well and they’ve showed how proud they are.”