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Taylor proud after Newport response

3 January 2022

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor was proud of the character his players showed to come from behind three times against Newport County on New Year’s Day but admitted he was still disappointed that his team didn’t come away with three points.

Conor Wilkinson scored a brace, either side of an own goal, from the bench to help the Saddlers earn a point in their first match since December 11th.

Taylor was pleased with the spirit and determination his team showed to respond three times and score a dramatic late equaliser but felt the outcome could have been even better.

“For me personally, I felt we did enough to win a game of football but we made errors and those errors got punished and that’s unlike us,” Taylor said.

“From my point of view, I’m exceptionally proud of the players and the character they showed to get back into the game three times.

“We had a chance at the end to win the game and I don’t think it would have been an injustice if we had won the game.

“It was a strange performance from us and what I mean by that is we had the majority of the ball, over 60 per cent possession, we had more chances than the opposition, we played more passes but I didn’t feel we risked the ball enough and that’s part of our identity.

“I’d never question the players work rate, attitude and application because I thought that was fantastic until the final minute.

“My overriding emotion is disappointment that we haven’t won the game however the goal we scored at the end, the fans coming on the pitch and how much it means to them I think is really important because it would have been easy for the fans after seeing us give away a drawing position twice to become unbelieving in what we’re doing and they didn’t, they stuck with us so fantastic and really pleased.

“Their support is huge to us but when I remove the emotion, there are most definitely things we can improve on going into the next game.”

One player who wasn’t involved was Brendan Kiernan and Taylor explained the reason behind his absence.

“Brendan unfortunately contracted COVID,” he confirmed

“What I must say is the way the players have behaved in terms of the virus has been exemplary.

“Brendan is unfortunate that he’s isolating at home at the moment, we’ll hopefully have him back in the building next week.

“He’s healthy, he’s OK – which is the most important thing, not the football element of it. The most important thing is that he’s healthy.

“He’s isolating over Christmas, he’s been very sensible, I’ve spoken to him on numerous occasion and we’re hopeful to have him back in the building next week.”


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