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Taylor frustrated after costly first half display against Stevenage

10 January 2022

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor was frustrated with the disparity between his team’s first half performance and second half performance after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Stevenage.

The Saddlers found themselves 2-0 down within the first 10 minutes at the Lamex Stadium.

Brendan Kiernan pulled one back in the second half but it wasn’t enough as Jake Taylor scored in injury time to seal the points.

Taylor labelled the first half performance as unacceptable and was frustrated with how his side started the match.

“When you’re 1-0 down after seven seconds because of an error, then in good possession of the ball and you make another error and you concede another goal, within seven minutes you’re 2-0 down away from home and it’s unacceptable,” he said.

“I just felt there was too much of a disparity between our first half performance, which I didn’t think was very good at all, against our second half performance where we completely dominated the game and had enough chances to get back into the game in terms of being level with the opposition.

“I think some of the times and the longer I spend in the job, the more I learn about people and I just felt from a mentality point of view we didn’t look as strong as we have done.

“We’ve come here to win the game and regardless of who is fit and who isn’t fit, we’ve come here to try and gain three points so to play like we did in the first half is unacceptable and that’s why we ended up losing the game.

"The players are extremely hurt by the result, as am I and everyone that came to watch the game.

"We’ve got to now put in an exceptionally hard training week to look forward to the next game on Saturday.”

Walsall were without defender Ash Taylor on Saturday. With Manny Monthé suspended, Hayden White partnered Rollin Menayese at centre half.

The Saddlers Head Coach was keen to stress that player absentees was no excuse for losing the game but he explained why Taylor was unable to be involved on Saturday.

“I found out at 6.30 in the morning that Ash had tested positive for COVID,” he confirmed.

“He was down to be in the team and I felt his presence, we missed because of his arial dominance and his leadership skills.

“We had to deal with that and I know we have enough in the building defensively to have performed better for large periods and we didn’t.

“That’s why Ash wasn’t here, when he’ll be back – I don’t know but forget that, that’s got nothing to do with the reason we lost the game. We must make sure that we’re better the next time we play.”

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