Thursday, April 25, 2024

We should have scored ‘far more’, says Walsall boss Mat Sadler

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Feb 2024


Walsall boss Mat Sadler admitted his side’s margin of victory at play-off rivals Harrogate should have been greater than 2-0.

The visitors racked up a third straight win as Liam Gordon opened the scoring early in the second half and substitute Mo Faal was then credited with an 84th-minute effort, even though it appeared to be missing the target before taking a huge deflection off home defender Liam Gibson.

But Faal and Ross Tierney were both guilty of squandering other simple second-half chances for the Saddlers, while Douglas James-Taylor hit an upright with only goalkeeper James Belshaw to beat in stoppage time.

Ultimately, the wastefulness mattered little, though, as Walsall managed a first League Two clean sheet on the road this season.

Sadler said: “The first half was pretty even. Harrogate were getting behind the ball well and creating two-v-one counter-attacks on the break, which they do very well.

“It wasn’t until about 25 or 30 minutes in that we started problem solving on the pitch and grew into the game.

“After that, we opened the game up and had some fantastic chances, so the final scoreline should have been far more than 2-0.

“But, while I want us to be more clinical than we were, I’m absolutely delighted with the overall performance and I think it has to go down as one of our best away from home for a long time.

“We also had more than 600 fans who had travelled a long way for the game and didn’t stop singing all afternoon and getting behind the lads, so to give them the reward they deserved was very pleasing too.”

Harrogate had started the afternoon nine places above their opponents in the division’s final play-off place but ended it level on points in a congested table.

Manager Simon Weaver lamented his team’s lack of cutting edge.

“We were disappointed to concede the two goals,” he said.

“The second one was a counter-attack against the run of play really and we got caught out a few times like that, so we have to make sure we get our numbers right at the back, but I thought we were in the ascendancy for large parts and there was a lot of good play.

“I can’t just define it as a poor performance because we lost the game, but certainly our final pass and finish was missing, which came down to decision making and being ruthless.

“We know we have good players who are capable of that, but we fell a bit short in that department for this game.

“I thought we were building our momentum again after conceding first and the crowd were right behind us, which we really appreciated, but when you’re getting that far up the pitch, you need to find the bullets.”


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