Smith hails young Saddlers
Last Updated: September 9, 2012 12:23pm
Smith: Full of praise for youngsters
Walsall boss Dean Smith praised his young team for the way they defended a slim lead against a more experienced MK Dons side.
After central defender Dean Holden scored his first goal for the club in the 17th minute, the visitors dominated the game but simply could not make their territorial supremacy count.
Smith said: "It was a really good performance against a very good team. I told the lads they would be judged on how they played against MK Dons because I expect them to be in the top six this season."
Last week Walsall conceded two goals to Brentford at home in the last four minutes and had to settle for a point, but Smith said: "We didn't sit as deep this time, and we didn't carry any players. Every player put in a performance."
Despite a very young side and being without two experienced players through injury, as well as having Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg away on international duty, Walsall pulled off a surprise result. The Saddlers were superb in defence, and skipper Andy Butler and Holden were outstanding.
Holden notched his first Football League goal for 11 months when he was at the far post to turn in Jamie Paterson's corner. Prior to that, dangerous Dons midfielder Dean Bowditch had one shot cleared off the line and saw another hit a post in the 19th minute.