Forest Green boss Steve Cotterill was full of praise after goalkeeper Vicente Reyes produced a man-of-the-match display to help his struggling side upset League Two play-off hopefuls Walsall 2-O.

The on-loan Norwich and Chile Under-23 shot-stopper denied Isaac Hutchinson from the penalty spot and kept out a point-blank effort from Josh Gordon as 10-man Walsall went home empty-handed.

“Vinny has been fantastic ever since he’s been here,” the manager said. “He’s a great lad and will get plaudits today and rightfully so. But it is always a team effort – Walsall have had other chances and we’ve got some great blocks in.

“It is all about staying in the game. When things get tough for you, you have to dig in even harder and do all the horrible things.

“The boys at the back gave us a good foundation to build off and they are a little more cohesive with each other.”

And with the win edging Forest Green to within two points of safety, Cotterill said there was still plenty to pay for.

He added: “We need to try and get above the line. When I came in it was nine points and we’ve managed to chip away with it.

“There are going to be bumps in the road and further twists and turns but it’s about us being focused, determined, working hard and being honest because we’re not going to turn into the best club in the league.”

It was Walsall who started the better but failed to test Reyes and instead, visiting goalkeeper Jackson Smith made the first save of the afternoon when he kept out a Charlie McCann effort.

Gordon missed the best chance of the half when he managed to guide the ball into the arms of Reyes from close range just before the break and the keeper then denied the same player with his outstretched foot at the start of the second period.

The game swung after 64 minutes when a quick break from the hosts saw Christian Doidge hit the post and Emmanuel Osadebe tucked away the rebound.

Walsall’s misery continued when Reyes brilliantly saved Hutchinson’s penalty and then, moments later, David Okagbue was sent off.

Salt was rubbed into the visitors’ wounds after 81 minutes when McAllister fired in a penalty at the other end to wrap up the points.

Disappointed Walsall manager Mat Sadler said: “It felt like one of those days. They are fighting for their lives and if we don’t take our chances then it gives them a little bit of momentum.

“I thought we were the team on the front foot but we have to dust ourselves down now and go again. It’s just another element of the winding road of the season.

“We have a very together squad who are desperate to do something and we always believe in ourselves.”