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Mixed emotions for Darrell Clarke after Harrogate draw

21 September 2020

Walsall boss Darrell Clarke had mixed emotions following Walsall’s 2-2 draw with Harrogate Town.

In a topsy-turvy encounter, the Saddlers took an early lead through Rory Holden before the hosts turned the game on its head with two further first half goals.

Walsall improved in the second half and Josh Gordon levelled after converting the rebound after his penalty was saved to earn Clarke’s men a point.

Clarke felt that his side could have won the game given the chances they created in what as a much improved second half performance but he was unhappy with how the Saddlers defended in the first half.

“I’m very disappointed with our defensive first half performance to be honest with you,” Clarke said.

“Really disappointed in our decision-making with the ball. We got a great start from a well-worked set piece and then didn’t build from there.

“We started going too long and direct, not enough players showing for the ball.

“Defensively I thought we got a bit bullied. We certainly shot ourselves in the foot in the first half.

“The second half, I thought, was a very good response.

“There was only one team and perhaps if we’d got the goal early, we might have gone on and won the game. We’ve had chances and been on the front foot.

“I want to win every football match but I suppose if you’d offered me four points after the first two league games, I’d have snapped your hand off."

The Saddlers boss feels there are enough positives from the first four matches for his team to build on having yet to taste defeat over 90 minutes.

He believes the league is going to be a hotly contested one this season but insists he’ll have a better idea of where the club are over the next few weeks.

"It's early days and in 10, 12 games we'll know,” he commented.

"We know the different challenges we're going to get in this division.

"We have to keep moving forward, keep trying to improve.

"I think we'll be competitive in every single game we play.

"But let's give Harrogate credit, I thought they were excellent against West Brom in midweek.

"They have a real good connection over the pitch and they're going to cause a lot of teams a lot of problems.

"I think the division is so competitive and it will be very competitive this year.

"I believe when we're on our game, we can be unplayable at times.

"We've shown glimpses of that and it's been a real positive four games of the season with the cup games.

"There's a lot of positives out there but we want to keep improving and keep working hard.

"We're back at home next week and we'll try and get another three points.”

The Saddlers take on Leyton Orient at the Banks’s Stadium on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on iFollow and video passes are available to purchase for £10 here.


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