Rotherham United 1 Walsall 2
After starting the new season with a win, Paul Merson is eagerly looking forward to tomorrow night's home game with Nottingham Forest, the team he rates as the best in the Coca Cola League One.
"It's nice to be going into that one with a win, because if we had lost or drawn it wouldn't have looked good," said the manager who led Walsall to five successive victories at the end of last season.
"We shall see where it takes us, but if the lads keep working like that, we have every chance."
Rotherham, just down from the Championship, didn't deserve to lose, but were undone by substitute Jorge Leit?o's freak winner in the third and final minute of stoppage time.
His high lob deceived the Millers' uncertain keeper Gary Montgomery and dropped just under the bar, with a commendably honest Leit?o admitting: "I just wanted to put the ball in the danger zone, and I think it was a mistake by the keeper who tried to catch it. A strange goal but it counts." When Rotherham manager Mick Harford was asked if he felt his men deserved a point, he replied: "We deserved to win. We were the better team.
"They should have been down to ten men in the second half. I am disappointed, their player went over the top".
He was referring to a lunging tackle by Kris Taylor which felled the impressive Lee Williamson near the touchline in the 62nd minute. The home fans were baying for a red card, but the referee settled for yellow, which increased Walsall's chances of winning.
Taylor is never afraid to put his foot in and could be a key player for the Saddlers who have long needed someone with a bit of steel in midfield. He will need to be careful, though.
And the former Manchester United youngster should have had two goals in the opening five minutes. Taylor put Walsall ahead from close in after a brilliant run by Matty Fryatt who then fired the ball across the face of goal with such power it needed just a touch to go in.
Two minutes later skipper Michael Standing, who also began the build-up for the opener, set up Taylor again, but this time, shooting with his weaker right foot, he saw Montgomery block the effort.
It took the Millers nearly 30 minutes to sort themselves out, and, as they upped the tempo the Saddlers began to lose out in midfield. Goalkeeper Andy Oakes was knocked out in a collision with former Walsall striker Martin Butler, and after a series of near misses, the home side drew level.
Deon Burton, who had a spell on loan at Bescot last season, raced past Anthony Gerrard before crossing accurately for Butler to score against his old club with a perfect diving header.
Rotherham created and missed chances to go in front, but the pattern changed when Merson took off the struggling Mark Wright and introduced some real physical challenge in the shape of the busy Leit?o.
His capacity to close opponents down and get forward made an immediate impact, and suddenly the Millers were not having things all their own way down the left flank.
When Walsall did come under pressure, young central defender Julian Bennett - only in the side because Chris Westwood was suspended - was superb, winning a string of difficult challenges in the air and on the ground. He was a rock.
Merson was reluctant to pick out individuals because he considered all his men had grafted for the result, but he couldn't help mentioning Bennett and Fryatt for the part they played at different ends of the pitch.
Fryatt, recently back from duty with the England under-19 team, had to operate as a lone striker, and he also found time to help out the defence on occasions. "He is head and shoulders above a lot of people," said Merson.
And, reflecting on the pressure his side came under at times, the happy manager added: "You can't come away from home and dominate football matches for 90 minutes. The lads defended like lions, and if they can do that, they can do anything."