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Dutton disappointed with Saddlers display

1 March 2021

Walsall Head Coach Brian Dutton was disappointed with his side’s display in Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Bradford City.

The Saddlers fell behind in the first half when Levi Sutton struck before the Bantams doubled their lead in the second half through Andy Cook.

Dan Scarr pulled one back for the Saddlers with 13 minutes to go but Bradford held on for the victory.

Dutton was left frustrated with a couple of refereeing decisions, particularly Josh Gordon’s penalty appeal, but the Saddlers Head Coach admitted his side fell short on the day.

“I thought for 20 minutes of the game we were good, for the rest of it, poor and not good enough,” Dutton said.

“The standards we’ve set, we fell well short of that so very disappointed with that performance.

“I think there are two decisions to talk about. The first one is where they’ve scored the first goal, it comes from the referee giving us an advantage when there was no advantage.

“We lose the ball, they punt it up the other end and score off that play. We should have had the play brought back, got the territory and put the ball in their box. They’ve ended up putting it in our box and scored off it.

“The second one there is a clear penalty. The referee is stood six/seven yards away from it, he’s got a clear view.

I spoke to the referee and he said the fact that Josh Gordon wasn’t trying to play the ball made it not a penalty.

“Someone will have to come to me and explain the rules because for me, Josh Gordon is playing the ball.

“He’s getting his body across and the fella has gone to clear the ball, not played the ball and smashed Gordon’s leg. It’s the clearest penalty you’ll see in a month of Sunday’s and how he’s not given it, I’m flabbergasted.

“I’m not going to hide behind refereeing decisions and penalty decisions, we’ve got to get our own house in order and that’s down to me.

“We were nowhere near the level we need to set for Walsall Football Club. All the criticism, I shall shoulder because I deserve it. I’m in charge of this team, I set them up and I’m there to motivate them. We were well below par.”

Despite the result, it was a big day for Sam Perry who was handed his league debut. He impressed with his performance and Dutton was pleased with the 19-year-old.

“Sam Perry is the future of Walsall Football Club along with Alfie Bates and they’ve been training fantastically," Dutton commented. 

"They’ve deserved their opportunity. It’s difficult for them because there are no reserve games going on in the background because of the covid situations.

"It’s been difficult for them to get a bit of game time to sharpen up a little bit. Perry coming out on that pitch, I thought he was fantastic. He’s a young lad making his EFL league debut without any dusting of the cobwebs off, just being chucked in there.

"We can’t be reliant on Sam Perry and Alfie Bates, teenagers, this season. They’re there to get a taste for it and develop.”

The Saddlers are quickly back in action with a trip to Exeter City tomorrow night. Watch the game live on iFollow by purchasing a match pass here.


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