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Bescot Banter: Reasons to be cheerful for Walsall fans

Another week has gone by and, after last Saturday's last gasp heroics, Walsall and their supporters have at least a few reasons to be cheerful.

Players mob Conor Wilkinson after he scores the winner.
Players mob Conor Wilkinson after he scores the winner.

The welcome win over Salford City gave us yet another glimpse of what could be, as the Saddlers hit the ground running before leaving it late to take all three points.

A goal from the returning Conor Wilkinson deep into second-half stoppage time saw Matthew Taylor's side secure their first win in four league games, and afford them a welcome four-point gap over the League Two dropzone.

Heading into the match on the back of an encouraging yet frustrating two-all draw with Exeter City, the Reds took the lead with less than a minute on the clock as Kieran Phillips broke up the field and slammed the ball home before Salford could get their foot on the ball.

Despite going on to concede an Ashley Eastham's headed goal from another poorly-covered corner kick, the Saddlers held their nerve before Wilkinson came off the bench - hopefully ending his injury nightmare - and secured the win ahead of this weekend's clash with his former side, Leyton Orient.

Whilst the game could probably have gone either way, goalkeeper Jack Rose had to make a few saves as he replaced Carl Rushworth between the sticks for the first-time in the league this season, the team was determined and created chances to seal the points well before Conor's late, late strike.

As we all know, one game doesn't make or break a season, and the team's focus will already have shifted to their upcoming matches, but the result remains an encouraging one and will hopefully add fuel to the fire as the team works on moving further away from the bottom two.

Despite the team doing well in recent home games, the win over Salford being their third home triumph in four Banks's-based outings, their overall form is still a cause for concern, especially as the draws and defeats are so often blighted by mistakes or the ongoing inability to defend from set-pieces.

If the team is able to eradicate just a few of their recent defensive issues then we're confident that more points will come, but, as the opening few months of the season have shown, far too many points are being dropped, and the odd win shouldn't be allowed to mask an overall poor campaign.

Looking at other issues currently at the forefront of fans minds and the potential loss of one or all of the Saddlers' current loan stars, a possibility confirmed by Matthew Taylor in midweek, would have a catastrophic effect on the team as all have made a difference since arriving in our portion of the Black Country.

Carl Rushworth, Rollin Menayese, Tyrese Shade, Kieran Phillips, and George Miller all bring different and welcome strengths to the team, and we would happily welcome any of them to the club on a permanent basis should the opportunity arise at the end of the season, or even in January, although that seems highly unlikely, given the current state of club finances.

Back to matters on the pitch, and just as last weekend's win proves the team is capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat from time to time, we'd much prefer to see a side able to perform on a consistent basis.

Wins deep into injury time are always great, and Wilkinson's strike certainly gave us some welcome scenes of jubilation at Fortress Bescot, but it'd be far better for all our wellbeing if the team could make more of the opportunities a little sooner and spare us the stresses and strains of another late, late show.

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