04 October 2022

The monkey is off our back – Michael Flynn delighted as Walsall end winless run

04 October 2022

Walsall manager Michael Flynn believes the monkey is off his side’s back after the Saddlers ended a 12-match winless run with a well-earned 1-0 victory against Northampton at the Bescot Stadium.

Danny Johnson scored the only goal on 37 minutes when he headed home from six yards out after Northampton failed to deal with Brandon Comley’s free-kick into the box.

The Saddlers should have settled the game late on as substitute Tom Knowles was denied by a superb save from Cobblers goalkeeper Lee Burge low down to his left.

Northampton struggled to create a meaningful opportunity all night as the Cobblers missed the chance to move top, while Walsall won for the first time since August.

Flynn said: “I think we deserved that and it’s the monkey off our back and we can all build on that now.

“It is an important win. We’ve been kicked in the teeth a few times during this run when we’ve outplayed teams.

“We’ve conceded goals in the 90th plus minute on several occasions but tonight we were excellent.

“They all stuck to their roles and responsibilities against a very good Northampton team who will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

“We had to go back to basics a bit. Let’s not dress it up. I would say they were starting to get a little bit of pressure or a little bit of confidence lost.

“They’ve got some players out but we’ve been crucified this season with the amount of injuries we’ve had.

“The boys have rolled their sleeves up, not made any excuses and I’m just glad we gave the fans something to go home happy about.

“Listen, we are all relived. The owners have been unbelievable and taken a little bit of worry away from me.

“But they understand we’ve brought in 19 new players, Rome wasn’t built in a day and the injury list was unheard of.”

Northampton boss Jon Brady said: “It was a difficult night, we pushed and pushed towards the end without really testing their keeper enough, it was just frustrating we’ve lost the game.

“You could see they were under pressure, they played no risk football, we just couldn’t get to grips with it in the first half, it was quite brutal.

“We dominated the last part of the game, we huffed and puffed really, no excuses, the squad was hugely stretched.

“We have to defend the free-kick better and we don’t defend it too well, when you look back everyone will see how that is adjudged to be offside, it’s plain to see, it’s not offside.

“Ultimately, the goal comes because we don’t defend the set-piece very well but it comes from the phase of play before where it shouldn’t have been a free-kick.

“We’ve had a lot of constraints but I’m not making excuses, I’m disappointed, we were trying to win tonight and we haven’t.”

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