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Dutton: "It was a bit of a mixed bag"

25 February 2021

Walsall Head Coach Brian Dutton felt his side’s performance against Newport County was a bit of a mixed bag.

The Saddlers fell to a 1-0 defeat at the Banks’s Stadium on Wednesday night as Joss Labadie’s goal was all that separated the two teams.

Dutton was frustrated as he believed the goal was offside but admitted his team should have created more opportunities with the possession they had.

“It was a bit of a mixed bag to be fair,” Dutton said.

“The first half wasn’t how we would have liked it, I thought Newport edged it in the first half. Second half we came on strong but we’ve got to create more opportunities with the possession we have so the good, the bad and the ugly out there to be honest.

“I said to the lads when I first came into the job that you’re more likely, in this league, to score a goal from a set piece than you are from open play so it’s got to be bang on both defensively and offensively.

“It’s the second corner we’ve conceded from all season, our record for corners against us this season has been phenomenal so it’s really gutting to concede like that from a corner, albeit it was offside.

“Just looking back on it, you take up the linesman’s position, he’s in line with the last defender. Their fella is a good two yards offside from the linesman’s position so gutted with that but we move on.”

While it was a frustrating evening for the Saddlers, Dutton was keen to reflect on the positives and praised Alfie Bates for his display in midfield.

“There was a lot of positives out there for me,” he commented.

“I thought Bates was phenomenal. His bravery to go and get on the ball, his retention with it I thought was first class.

“We’ve got a lot of lads there on the back of a real heavy schedule where we haven’t rotated that squad and they’ve had to get chucked out there again and they’ve dug in for us. There was some pleasing football, we didn’t just punt it forward and we tried to play.

“I thought we were successful at doing that at times but at the end of the day if you’re not creating opportunities to score a goal, it’s pointless.”

The Saddlers quickly turn their attention to Saturday’s game against Bradford City.

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

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