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Taylor reflects on Mansfield defeat

17 January 2022

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor was left to rue his team’s lack of cutting edge in decisiveness moments after Saturday’s defeat to Mansfield Town.

Half-time substitute Harry Charsley scored a brace to condemn the Saddlers to back-to-back defeats in Sky Bet League Two.

It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Taylor and the players, particularly after they came close to taking the lead just minutes before Mansfield’s opener.

“We had a fantastic opportunity to score and within a period of minutes we go and concede,” Taylor said.

“I felt that when we stuck to the gameplan we were a real threat and we got into some fantastic areas.

“You see the pitch; it wasn’t conducive to play in the way we normally would so it was a case of competing and fighting and I thought in the first half we did that really well.

“George has had two really good attempts, should score one of them at least and that was the difference.

“We know that we’re going to create chances, we know as a team that that’s always going to be the case but we didn’t take them and then we didn’t defend anywhere near well enough. I haven’t seen the goal back, the players suggested there might be an infringement or foul in that goal but I haven’t seen it but we’ve got to be stronger and we’ve got to deal with it better.

“The second goal, we’re pushing to try and get ourselves back into the game. We make substitutions to make sure that it gives us a better chance of scoring and we get hit because we don’t do the right thing when the ball drops to us.

“I thought there we signs we were more competitive, which is great. The moments in games where they really turn and the big moments, we weren’t first in any of those today and that’s what’s disappointing.

“The players are upset and we’ve got to bounce back. We’ve got a group of players in the dressing room who are extremely disappointed they haven’t got anything here because I felt we deserved it.”

Saturday saw a first league start of the season for defender Tom Leak and Taylor felt the defender acquitted himself to a difficult task well.

“Tom did well,” he commented.

“It was a big test for him, he hasn’t played much football this season so for him to come in for what I consider a good pairing in the first half and then dealing with the front three, a different threat with the way they play up to Hawkins when he plays up there and I thought Tom dealt well with it.

“He’s a young player who’s got a huge amount of development to come.”

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