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Taylor reflects on shootout victory over Northampton

6 October 2021

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor was pleased to see his team pick up two points from last night’s Papa John’s Trophy tie against Northampton Town but felt his side should have taken three.

Emmanuel Osadebe opened the scoring at Sixfields after four minutes but Dylan Connolly levelled with 18 minutes to go from the penalty spot.

The Saddlers added a bonus point with a 4-2 victory in the penalty shootout to take their tally to five points and retain their place at the top of Southern Group D.

Taylor insists his side must be more ruthless in the oppositions box given and while he’s satisfied with the points return from the first two group matches, he’s slightly frustrated they’re not on six points instead of five.

“I’m, a realist, I’ll tell the truth - we should have six points but we’ve got five and that, from my perspective, is a good thing,” Taylor said.  

“Now we focus back on the league and we’ve got one more game in this competition and I said to the players that this is a fantastic opportunity to be successful for the football club in a competition that isn’t the league.

“I’ve stood here and the conversation comes down to not taking opportunities and that’s a good conversation to have because we’re not stood here talking about not making opportunities and therefore, we understand we need to be better and more ruthless in the oppositions box.

“As I said, it’s a hard one because I thought we should have won in 90 minutes but we didn’t but what the players showed is if you look back at the Doncaster game, it went to penalties and we didn’t manage to see that one out, we’ve scored four from four and Jack making the saves that he did coming into the team was really good so huge amount for us to be happy about but I would prefer us to win the game in the 90 minutes.”

The Saddlers were without goalkeeper Carl Rushworth who has been called up to the England Under 21s squad.

Jack Rose deputised and pulled off a crucial save at the end of the second half and one in the penalty shootout.

Taylor is proud of Rushworth for earning an international call up but also praised Rose for his professionalism given the tough competition for the number one jersey.

“It’s difficult for goalkeepers because they can only play one position and competition has been tough for Jack as Carl has come in and not really put a foot wrong all season,” Taylor commented.

“He is the first player to be called up for the Under 21s for England for a long time, it’s a proud moment for us and it reflects that we’re doing things right at the football club.

“From my perspective, Jack has been exceptionally professional from day one of pre-season until now. What he’s done is take the opportunity in front of him and performed really well.”

The Saddlers now turn their attention to Saturday’s league clash with Salford City at the Banks’s Stadium.

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