Walsall manager Darrell Clarke praised his side’s battling qualities as they held firm to claim three points away at Salford City.
Caolan Lavery and Josh Gordon gave the Saddlers a 2-0 lead at the Peninsula Stadium on Saturday but Brandon Thomas-Asante pulled one back for the hosts to set up a grand-stand finish.
Clarke’s men had Liam Roberts to thank as he pulled off two outstanding saves late on and the Walsall boss was delighted to see his side grind out the victory.
“It was a really battling performance,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be a very, very tough away game with the injuries and the suspensions that we had.
“I’m delighted to come away with the three points; I thought it was going to be a very tough afternoon, which it was.
“You look at the squad of 18, there are seven lads that have come through the academy system.
“An 18-year-old starting and two 18-year-old’s on the bench.
“Liam (Roberts) pulls off that great save; he’s come through the system.
“It’s probably getting a bit back to the Walsall way.
“But we have to make sure we don’t push these young lads too early and that they keep learning and developing and they’re given that time to do that.
“Really pleased and the experienced boys today were absolutely superb as well.”
Clarke is still ruing Walsall’s poor run in October but has been pleased with how his side have recovered.
The 42-year-old was keen to praise the support from the Saddlers fans who and played a key role into helping the players over the line against Salford.
“It was unbelievable support,” he commented.
“They got behind the lads yet again, fantastic.
“You have to keep winning games to keep fans happy, we know that.
“We’ve certainly started the year off well.
“We’ve defended absolutely superbly for the majority of the season.
“Although October was a disaster wasn’t it, I keep talking about that.
“There were so many individual mistakes in October.
“We just keep chipping away.
Focus now turns to the Leasing.Com Trophy as the Saddlers host Portsmouth on Tuesday evening.
Tickets are still available for the game. Call the ticket office on 01922 651 414/416 or visit our e-ticketing site to secure your seat.