Will Grigg praises Sunderland team-mate Charlie Wyke after pair combine to score Walsall winner

Will Grigg was pleased for his Sunderland strike partner Charlie Wyke after the pair combined for Sunderland's winning goal against Walsall.

By Joe Nicholson
Sunday, 17 March, 2019, 09:41
Sunderland striker Will Grigg celebrates scoring the winning goal against Walsall.

With the scores locked at 1-1, Wyke came off the bench in the 71st minute and made an immediate impact at the Stadium of Light.

Wyke has struggled since his move to Wearside from Bradford last summer, but showed great awareness to tee up Grigg with his first touch on Saturday afternoon.

With space to run into, Grigg burst past Walsall defender Dan Scar before firing past goalkeeper Liam Roberts and securing the win for Jack Ross' side.

The result moves Sunderland to within two points of the automatic promotion places, with a game in hand on second-place Barnsley, and Grigg was relieved to claim all three points

"It's a massive win," the Sunderland striker told SAFC.com. "It was a really difficult game, the conditions out there weren't easy.

"It wasn't the prettiest but the main thing was the three points and a really big win."

Sunderland did it the hard way against relegation-threatened Walsall after Josh Gordon put the visitors ahead with four minutes on the clock.

Lee Cattermole then equalised from a corner in the 33rd minute before Grigg converted the winner 19 minutes from time.

The strike marked Grigg's first league goal from open play since his move from Wigan in January, and the striker praised Wyke for his contribution.

"It's a good bit of play," added Grigg. "The ball into Charlie and then, I think it was probably his first touch, he's set me up nicely and my touch is perfect.

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"I didn't even think about it, as soon as I've got in that area I've just let rip and it's nice to see it go in the bottom corner."

Since Grigg's arrival at the start of the year, he and Wyke have started just one game together up front - against Accrington Stanley in February.

Yet the pair have been linking-up well in training, which came to fruition against the Saddlers.

"It's one of those things we've been working on in training and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't," said Grigg.

"Luckily today that was perfect and I'm sure the fans will be pleased with that.

"Charlie's a great lad and I thought he did really well when he came on."

Due to international call-ups and the Checkatrade Trophy final, Sunderland won't play another league game until April 3 - away at Accrington Stanley.

In that time rivals Barnsley will make the trip to Walsall next weekend before hosting Coventry at the end of March.

It was therefore important for Sunderland to keep up the pressure and go into next week's break on a high.

"Really important," added Grigg. "Obviously we've got the cup game coming up but it was important to finish this period in the league on a high and that's exactly what we've done."