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Dutton delighted to earn first win

12 April 2021

Walsall Head Coach Brian Dutton was delighted to secure the first win of his tenure.

Goals from Rory Holden and Captain James Clarke helped the Saddlers earn a 2-1 victory over promotion chasing Forest Green Rovers.

It’s been a frustrating time for the team but Dutton feels the victory will provide huge psychological relief, despite it not coming easily after a lengthy period of stoppage time made for a nervous finish to the game.

“100 minutes, just to really put us through our paces, 100 minutes. Was I happy with the performance? Not really,” Dutton said.

“If you’d have offered me a win and an average performance before the match, 100 per cent I would have took it so I'm absolutely delighted to have got the win and I’m delighted for the lads, they truly deserve it.

“Stevenage, that should have been a win, Cambridge that should have been a win and there’s a couple more in there where these lads have been really unfortunate not to get what they deserve, that first win and the monkey off their back so I’m delighted for them.”

“People can say I’m a miserable this and a miserable that but you try starting your managerial career and not having a win after 13 games, it’s very difficult to come in front of the camera and be all smiles.

“I am happy to the core. What will that do for the lads is get the monkey off the back, a bit of psychological belief. They will play with a lot more freedom and a bit less tension but they’ve got to improve, that was harder work than what it should have been.

“It’s going to take a transfer window to complement the group so we get our heads down, we graft, we give 110 per cent, be difficult to beat and we ask our attacking players such as Rory Holden, Josh Gordon, Emmanuel Osadebe and Tyreik Wright to do something special and win the game for us. I thought that’s what we were, we were hard working, robust but Holden was a bit of quality that unlocked it for us.”

Dutton was full of praise for his players, particularly captain James Clarke after he netted his first goal of the season and his fourth in a Walsall shirt.

“He’s been a colossus since he’s come back into the group, especially defensively,” he commented.

“There were two stonewall penalties before we scored that goal but I was the only one not asking for a penalty, I’d rather have the ricochet and have James Clarke stick it away than a penalty because we all know the troubles we have with penalties at the minute and that’s what we got, we got a bit of fortune and James Clarke got on the end of the second ball and he showed us how it’s done.”

Attention now turns to Tuesday as Tranmere Rovers visit the Banks’s Stadium.

Watch all the action live on iFollow by purchasing a match pass here.

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