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Post Reading | Matt Taylor

11 November 2023


Post Reading | Matt Taylor

11 November 2023

Boss Matt Taylor spoke to the media following our thrilling 3-2 victory over Reading.

A 92nd-minute equaliser from Chey Dunkley and a 96th-minute winner from Jason Sraha saw Town secure a late and dramatic come-back victory at the Croud Meadow.

A disastrous opening 15 minutes saw the visitors grab a two-goal lead - with Sam Smith and Dom Ballard the men on target.

But Salop fought back with Tom Bayliss scoring just after half an hour mark following good work from Max Mata.

Town then showed bundles of character to claim all three points right at the end with Dunkley and Sraha both scoring to earn us all three points.

Speaking to the assembled media, Matt expressed his pride at the character his team showed to secure the win. But he also admitted the opening 15 minutes of the match were not good enough.

On the game: 

“The first 15 minutes are unacceptable.  

“Great the emotion, great we won the game, but people have got jobs to do and they do not do them.  

“That first 15 minutes really disappoints me because as a group that is not what we are about.  

“We scored a really good goal to get back in the game but you are given roles and responsibilities and what I cannot do is come out here and brush it under the carpet.  

“I cannot come out here and not own it, from my perspective, that first 15 minutes for this football club and for that group of players is unacceptable.  

“Half-time was emotional I spoke a lot about the belief the players need to have in themselves to get back into a game of football. 

“It was all about continuing to believe that we would get back in the game.  

“Elliott Bennett's delivery from every set play was phenomenal. We should have scored more, their goalkeeper has made two unbelievable saves before we scored.  

“We got the second goal and there seemed to be an uprising in belief in the players.  

“I must make a special mention for Jason - that he gets that moment tonight. 

“I’m exceptionally pleased for him having seen how hard he has worked and understanding his history with injury. 

“He came into the team at a difficult time and he has really taken his opportunity. I am over the moon for him, I said that to him in there.  

“The emotion at the end is indescribable, I did not celebrate the first two goals to be perfectly honest with you. 

“Then the third goal, I got booked for it, but I will take that all day long. 

"It’s a huge, massive, monumental three points for us today.  

“That is two games out of the last three here where we have scored three goals.  

“We had to score three goals today. We should not be conceding three goals at home. 

“But that hopefully now – and I’ve just said this to the players – will give them the belief that I have in them because I can’t stand it when people feel sorry for themselves. 

“The players didn’t do that today. They could have easily gone under when we start the game of football the way we did. 

“But it only looked like it would be us in the second half that was going to really get the big moments and the big chances. 

“We did that so I am over the moon that we picked up what is a monumental three points going into what is another busy week for us.” 

On Tom Bayliss pulling a goal back before half-time: 

“It helped change the momentum of the game. 

“It’s a really good finish from Tom. 

“Max does really well to regain the ball but from a tight angle. Tom manages to put it in.  

“Then it is about that real belief. We had good control of the game today, I felt. 

“The opposition looked a threat on the counter-attack. Look at one of their goals today, it’s from a counter. 

“The second one is just really disappointing from our perspective. 

“But the players didn’t give in and you can’t begin to appreciate how important that is. 

“The players need to keep believing in themselves. 

“Hopefully now this is the beginning of what can be a resurgence for us because we’ve got really good players. 

“I spoke on Tuesday about injuries and how that has hurt us. I spoke about a small squad. 

“What I meant by that was the fact that – at the moment – the players we have got out make the squad feel that way. 

“When everybody is fit we have got a really competitive group of men. 

“But the most important thing for us at the moment is to get our players out of the treatment room because it’s important to increase competition. 

“I hope the players enjoy this tonight because they know how hard they have worked for it.  

“They have got the music on in the dressing room. 

“It’s the emotion you feel in a game of football, in my position, is indescribable.  

“I’m really pleased. It will make the journey home a lot easier with three points. 

“And I just hope now that the players go and build on this in the next couple of fixtures.” 

On the belief to find a winner: 

“It all comes down to the players. It came down to exceptional balls into their box from set-plays. 

“That’s only two that we score from, Elliott Bennett’s delivery made a big difference for us tonight. 

“We have got lads that are powerful. We have got players that attack the ball really well. 

“Did I feel we would go on and get the third? I hoped. 

“You can never predict what is going to happen in this game.  

“So while we are exceptionally happy, you have to remember that there is another group of players and staff who will be feeling as if their world has ended. 

“I understand that because I felt like that in the first 15/20 minutes of the game. 

“We will enjoy it. We will be respectful and make sure our next league fixture that the players go and reproduce 70 minutes of what they played tonight.” 


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