Matt Taylor hails Walsall striker Conor Wilkinson after last-gasp win

Walsall boss Matt Taylor has hailed Conor Wilkinson for making an instant impact on return from injury and sealing an important win over Salford City.

Matt Taylor congratulates Conor Wilkinson.
Matt Taylor congratulates Conor Wilkinson.

Wilkinson – back after six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring issue – dramatically found the net in the 95th minute to grab a 2-1 triumph over the Ammies at the Banks's Stadium.

It lifts the Saddlers up to 19th in the League Two table.

And on match-winner Wilkinson, Taylor said: "It always helps when you've got the quality on the bench to change the game, and Conor did what he does.

"I’ve seen that finish numerous times in training and I’m really happy the forward players are contributing goals.

"As soon as I saw the defender had let him come inside, I expected him to hit the back of the net. That’s what Conor’s been brought here to do."

Leading up to the game, Taylor said in his press conference on Thursday that Wilkinson – his first signing as Walsall boss – would be back in a few weeks.

And he now admits that it was a deliberate ploy to catch Salford off-guard.

"I wanted Conor to come into this game with no pressure on his shoulders," explained Taylor.

"Conor has the pressure because of his ability and the type of player he is.

"I wanted to release that pressure from him, so he could get on the pitch and be himself, and he’s done that."

Wilkinson saved the day after the Saddlers' woes from set pieces looked set to cost them more points.

Kieran Phillips had put the hosts ahead after just 28 seconds, but Ash Eastham equalised from a corner in the second half – their ninth goal conceded from a set play this term.

Taylor added on the win: "We started the game exceptionally well and you hope the team goes on and builds on that.

"Kieran's in a good vein of form at the moment. He's confident.

"We had three or four other really exceptional chances that we didn’t take, and that’s been the story of the season for us.

“You get that feeling of ‘is it going to happen again?’ when their goal goes in.

“However, I thought the players showed fantastic character, belief and energy to go and win the game in the 95th minute.

"What the players have done is find a way to win.

"It was fantastic to win in front of the supporters, who were excellent in their backing.

"They deserve a team that represents them. We're getting there."

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