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WHITNEY: WE CREATED THE BETTER CHANCES

31 December 2016

Saddlers end 2016 with a draw...

Jon Whitney felt his side created the better chances in the goalless draw with Oxford – but admitted a point apiece was probably fair. 

Joe Edwards went close for the Saddlers on three occasions, while Simeon Jackson, Isaiah Osbourne and Erhun Oztumer also threatened. 

Whitney’s men defended resolutely to keep a seventh league clean sheet of the campaign, with goalkeeper Neil Etheridge making a handful of routine saves. 

Although disappointed not to win, Whitney is pleased with a return of four points from the last two away fixtures. 

“Possession-wise, I thought they shaded it in the first half without creating any real clear chances,” said the 46-year-old. “We defended well but didn’t keep the ball well enough. 

“The game plan worked better in the second half and we played a little bit more direct in the first 10-15 minutes to take the pressure off. 

“I thought we then played the better stuff and created better chances than they did. I thought we might have sneaked it late on. 

“We looked quite bright towards the end and the subs made an impact when they came on. 

“All in all, it was probably a fair result but I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get the win. We’ll take the four points from two tough away games and look to build on it against Rochdale.” 

With Matt Preston missing out through illness, young defender Kory Roberts was handed his debut at centre half. 

And Whitney believes the experience will have done him the world of good. “We all gave him a round of applause after the game,” Whitney added. 

“You always remember your debut and I thought he did really well. 

“I’m proud of the kid and proud of my players for helping him through it. I’ve watched him play in 15-20 games and I’ve not seen him have a bad one. 

“There are times when players step in and they step up to another level. He’s got that game under his belt now and he’ll get stronger from it.”

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