We wanted a reaction and boy did we get it as the Saddlers defeated struggling Oxford United 2-1 and to rise to fifth in the League 1 table.
Before yesterday the Saddlers had failed to win in our last three league games but yesterday’s victory was more comfortable than the score line suggests and was probably our best away performance of the season.
Deano kept faith with his trusted 4-4-2 formation and Josh Gordon and Zeli Ismail returned to the team.
Oxford should have been ahead after just ten minutes as Ricky Holmes free kick found Mousinho who volleyed inches wide.
Dobson’s corner found Guthrie moments later but his header lacked conviction and Mitchell saved it easily.
The Saddlers took the lead moments later. Gordon dinked a superb ball over the flat footed Oxford defence and Morgan Ferrier ran through and slotted superbly past the keeper.
Holmes set pieces were continuing to cause problems and his pin point ball found the head of Nelson but Roberts pulled off a superb save and tipped it over the bar.
The Saddlers somehow failed to make it 2-0 as Ismail’s cross found Gordon whose shot bounced back off the inside of the post, fell to Ferrier and his back heel hits the crossbar, bounces down on the line and somehow is cleared.
Saddlers finally stretched their lead just on the hour mark. Osbourne found Gordon running through and he picked out Ismail. Ismail slots home superbly into the bottom corner to send the 658 Saddlers fans into jubilation.
Oxford grabbed a consolation goal near the end and could have snatched an equaliser but the referee gave a free kick to the Saddlers rather than a penalty.
The Saddlers made life difficult for ourselves but let’s not hide the fact this was probably our best performance on the road this season. Oxford are struggling and we dominated the game.
The Saddlers have now won three, drawn two of our opening five away games.
Viral Walsall MOTM – Jon Guthrie – absolute brick wall yesterday.