Express & Star

Mat Sadler delighted with Walsall's 'special result'

Walsall Head Coach Mat Sadler hailed this afternoon’s 1-0 win over Colchester as a ‘special result’, notably because it featured the Saddlers’ first clean sheet of the season.


Isaac Hutchinson’s superb second half strike secured the Saddlers the three points their performance deserved in a game in which they were on top for long periods.

But with only a one-goal advantage, it needed two excellent late saves by Owen Evans and a strong spirit and mentality to see out the result.

“It was a big three points but mainly because we deserved them,” said the head coach.

“We came in at half time when we should have been ahead but the main thing about that was that we didn’t get too disappointed – we just kept going.

“I thought we didn’t do that and, minus the two late chances and fantastic saves which can happen when they are pressing and we gave away a few sloppy free kicks – apart from that I thought we were great.

“We completely dominated and it should have been more, but 1-0 is a fantastic result and a special result because it answers a few questions.

“We have been frustrated by conceding goals and it hurts me to my core, but I thought it was a really good team performance to see it through.

“And I also think that the supporters, especially in that second half, were right behind us and showed what an impact they can have.

“They went with us, we went with them, and we got what we deserved today.”

A few eyebrows were raised when the team sheet was announced without the usually prolific Danny Johnson, which Sadler explained as a tactical decision as Jamille Matt came in to lead the line on his first start of the season.

“I am blessed with five strikers who offer different things for different times,” he said.

“Colchester are a big strong team and I needed to be aware of that, especially their centre backs.

“Jamille has been there, seen it and done it in this division, over a lengthy period of time.

“His reputation in this division is unmatched in many respects, in what he does for the team, the guy that he is – he gave us something different and put in a fantastic performance.

“I was so pleased for him that we ended up on the right side of it and he got the standing ovation that he deserved because he gave everything.”

Hutchinson has now joined Johnson on two goals for the season after his fantastic strike, the highlight of another all-action display as he pulled the strings in the Saddlers’ engine room.

“Isaac just runs and runs and runs – it was a hot day and there were some tired bodies on both teams but Isaac doesn’t get affected by that,” added Sadler.

“He is relentless and has got an engine which is unrivalled at this football club in terms of being able to keep running but also keep running at the pace which he does.

“He is a real threat and his finish was top drawer – he hit it and it stayed hit.

“I am delighted for him but delighted for all of them because of what they have put into the game to get the clean sheet and all the work we have done during the week.

“We have worked really, really hard to get that mentality of defending not being a dirty word which it never has been in my book - we don’t want to get in a scenario where we think that it is.

“They defended, they scrapped, they headed, they cleared – and then they showed quality as well - I was delighted with the performance.”