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2 January 2017

Saddlers start 2017 with a 2-0 defeat...

Jon Whitney conceded his side were beaten by the better team following the Saddlers' 2-0 home defeat by high-flying Rochdale. 

Goals from Ian Henderson and Joseph Thompson earned Keith Hill’s Dale a comfortable win – and Whitney admitted we were second best. 

“I thought the first goal changed it as the game plan was working up to then,” said the 46-year-old. 

“We were a threat and we played beyond them a little bit as they’re such an attack-minded front-footed team. 

“In the first 25 minutes we had a go and had a couple of good chances, but then the goal changed it as it gave them something to hold on to. 

“I couldn’t fault the effort from us, but all in all, I thought they were the better team. 

“They didn’t have that many chances but they create a bit of pressure and don’t give you any time on the ball. 

“No excuses from me, we were beaten by the better side.” 

It could have been a different story for the Saddlers had Amadou Bakayoko taken a golden opportunity with the score at 0-0 – but Whitney refused to criticise the striker. 

“It was a great move for Ama’s chance but I’m not going to have a go at him,” Whitney added. 

“I thought his general play was good and he occupied them really well. “I don’t think he lost a header all day which is what we wanted from him. 

“Goals do change games and had we got that goal it would have been different as they would have had to push people forward and we could have hit them on the counter-attack. 

“But I’m not happy with their second goal as we could have done more to prevent it.” 

Whitney confirmed that Isaiah Osbourne missed today’s game through injury but he should be fit in time for our next match against Sheffield United on 14th January.

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