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WHITNEY: WE WERE SECOND BEST

20 May 2016

Walsall's promotion hopes ended by Barnsley...

Jon Whitney admitted Walsall were second best to Barnsley over the two legs of their League One play-off semi-final. 

Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, the Saddlers needed to produce an historic comeback in the return leg to keep their promotion hopes alive. 

But goals from Adam Hammill, Ash Fletcher and Josh Brownhill earned the Tykes a 3-1 victory on the night and a comprehensive 6-1 aggregate success. 

And speaking afterwards, Whitney conceded that Walsall had been beaten by the better team. 

“You can try your best but if it was all down to effort, application, desire and passion then I could probably still play,” he said. 

“Sometimes that isn’t enough and you need some quality. 

“You need a little bit of luck but we have to face facts – and I have to be honest with myself – that over the two legs, Barnsley were the better team. 

“We had our moments. Their first goal came at a really bad time but we didn’t buckle, we didn’t just give on the task. 

“In the second half we were strong and maybe had we got a goal we could have got some momentum. 

“But they’re a good team. Defensively, their two lads, Alfie Mawson and Marc Roberts, have been excellent over the two games. 

"Ashley Fletcher and Sam Winnall have linked up really well up front and Lloyd Isgrove has had a great battle up against Rico Henry. 

"We lost the games because we didn't defend well enough, we didn't defend crosses well enough. 

"They were a much better team and fair play to them, I hope they go on and win it because they are a really strong team and a really good unit. 

“Paul has got them playing really well and I was impressed with them."

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