Latics boss Gary Caldwell jubilant as his side grab late win against Sky Bet League One promotion rivals Walsall.
- Caldwell: "It’s a big win."
- Boss praises match-winner Yanic Wildschut.
- "We showed the whole range of our game today," says Gary.
Caldwell watched on as Yanic Wildschut smashed home a 91st minute winner for Latics against their promotion rivals and the Scot was full of praise for his side and the magnitude of their win.
“We’re in football for those scenes at the end,” he explained. “It was an incredible high and to see the fans – who pay great money to follow us across the country – celebrating, and to give them another day that they can remember is really pleasing.
“It’s a big win; we said before the game how big it was in the sense that we were playing a promotion rival and a team just above us.
“For large parts of the game we played very well and should have been out of sight at half-time but we weren’t and we had to dig in. We showed the whole range of our game today in many different aspects and I was really pleased with a lot of it.
“It is three points and we know we have to put it to bed and start preparing again for another huge game next week.”
All three goals scored at the Banks’s Stadium were sensational; Conor McAleny opened the scoring with a 30-yard thunderbolt before Walsall’s Sam Mantom equalled that effort with a superb drive of his own midway through the second-half. However, it was down to magic man Wildschut to win the tie for Latics, something his manager told him he would do on Friday afternoon.
But the manager did feel his side were perhaps wasteful in their chances and should have probably had the game wrapped up without the magnificent individual efforts.
“I don’t think the spectacular goals particularly tell the story of the game because we created a lot of opportunities in first-half and in the second-half as well,” Caldwell added. “If you don’t take those chances, though, you always run the risk of letting your opponents back in and their strike was unbelievable as well.
“They grew momentum from their goal and we had to defend well for 15 minutes and then grow back into the game, we did that, and Yanic came up with a magnificent winner.
“I said to Yanic yesterday that it was hard to leave a player of his quality out of the team but I also said he would come on and win us the game. When it went to 1-1, I told him it was his chance and to have that talent and ability to do what he did was great.”
Caldwell knows praise will rightly go to Wildschut and McAleny for their goals, but the boss was keen to stress how important the squad effort was in the Midlands.
“All the squad were great,” he continued. “I had Tim Chow in the stand collecting balls and getting us playing from the side and we’re going to need that squad effort from now until the end of the season.
“The defenders were brilliant throughout and Jussi made some really big saves at a big time in the game and, if you want to win games, you’ve got to defend and the whole team has got to play well and everyone did.”