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Whitney disappointed with opening-day defeat

5 August 2017

Jon Whitney was disappointed to see his Saddlers side start the new 2017/18 League One season with a 1-0 defeat at Bury.

The game’s only goal came in first half injury time when new signing Jermaine Beckford headed home a deflected Chris Maguire free-kick.

Walsall goalkeeper Mark Gillespie had a debut to remember, making two fantastic penalty saves to deny Beckford and then Maguire.

Simeon Jackson went closest for the visitors with a deflected strike which brushed the post, but we were unable to find an equalising goal.

“I think the first-half, take away the first minute and the last minute, we were the better side,” said Whitney.

“We’ve had a great save from Gilly [Gillespie] in the first couple of minutes but I thought we started the game well.

“We put them on the back foot and created the better chances. We could have gone in with a lead.

“But the timing of the goal was a sucker punch. It was right on the 45th minute and from a dead ball as well.

“But the lads’ heads were still up at half-time and from there I think they just tried to stop us playing.

“They made it quite ugly. It was very stop-start. There were too many free-kicks. And it’s difficult then to get any flowing football played.

“I’m disappointed with the result but I can’t fault the work rate and application from the lads. With the effort they put in, they deserved more.

“But let’s face it, we can’t keep coming away from home and giving away two penalties because he [Gillespie] won’t always be there to save them.

“Our discipline needs to be better. We gave away too many free-kicks. I think we fell into their hands a little bit and made it a very scrappy affair.”


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