Jon Whitney was left purring after watching his Walsall side record back-to-back victories for the first time this season with a 2-1 triumph at AFC Wimbledon.

Whitney hails 'excellent team performance' after Walsall's win at AFC Wimbledon

Whitney hails 'excellent team performance' after Walsall's win at AFC Wimbledon

Goals from Erhun Oztumer and Amadou Bakayoko proved enough for the Saddlers to see off the struggling Dons and successfully follow up their 4-2 victory over Fleetwood in midweek.

Walsall manager Whitney praised his team's maturity after they held firm against a second-half onslaught from the hosts to secure a vital three-point haul.

"It was an excellent team performance, a good away performance," said Whitney.

"You can take individual goals but it's all about the team as well. There's an enjoyment in this group.

"We reacted well to their goal and we weathered the storm. We put bodies on the line in the second half. It was a mature performance from a young team.

"They're growing in strength together, both physically and mentally. You can see that from the last four performances.

"There's been enough words said - we've started putting what we've been telling them into action

"That's back-to-back wins for the first time since March, and we've moved up to 13th, which shows consistency.

"You can't say that you've turned a corner - you just have to work hard."

Conversely, Wimbledon chief Neal Ardley was in no mood to accept excuses for his team's defeat and accused his players of lacking discipline against the Saddlers.

He said: "There was no energy in team. The boys need to take responsibility.

"We were good for an hour in the game. We could have scored four goals.

"Fatigue is not an excuse. They're mentally weak if they say fatigue is an excuse.

"I'm disappointed - we've got a tough month coming up and that's a poor result.

"The players should execute the game plan. We didn't do that for 20 minutes - that's a lack of discipline.

"Anybody can have a go at 2-0 down."

Oztumer opened the scoring with his ninth goal of the season on 15 minutes, firing into the top corner from 25 yards after latched on to a loose clearance from George Long.

The Saddlers doubled their advantage shortly after the half-hour mark when Bakayoko slid to divert Zeli Ismail's low cross off the far post.

Wimbledon pulled a goal back before the break when Lyle Taylor fired home after unselfish play by Cody McDonald.

McDonald almost levelled in the 44th minute but could only head at Saddlers goalkeeper Liam Roberts from Deji Oshilaja's looped cross.

The hosts dominated the second half but were unable to find an equaliser.

Walsall left-back Luke Leahy almost knocked Andy Barcham's cross into his own net before Taylor's curling effort from the edge of the box flew inches over the bar.


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