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Martin O'Connor: Performances must improve if Walsall are to remain in League One

By Joseph Masi | Sport | Published:

Interim boss Martin O’Connor says Walsall’s performances must improve if they are to stay in League One following the 1-1 draw with Southend.

Martin O'Connor

A stoppage time penalty from Aramide Oteh saw the Saddlers snatch a point against Kevin Bond’s side in a crunch relegation six-pointer at the Banks’s Stadium.

Walsall looked to be heading for League Two when Simon Cox put the visitors ahead just before half-time.

But Oteh won the controversial spot-kick and then tucked it away to ensure Walsall remain 23rd in the table, three points from safety.

O’Connor said: “Did we do enough in the game to get three points? We didn’t.

“We didn’t perform well enough so we will take a point. It stops the rot in my opinion.

“We go again at Wycombe on Monday. But we have got to take more pride in our performance.

“Southend, for me, were there for the taking, although they showed resilience.

“We know it’s not a great performance. But before the game I felt we needed a point somewhere down the line. We’ll take it now and hopefully get three on Monday.”

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John White was the man deemed to have fouled Oteh for the penalty. And O’Connor admitted he didn’t actually see the incident.

“I didn’t see it but I’m happy we got it,” he continued.

“Remi stepped up and dispatched it well.

“But I’m looking at the whole picture and our performance levels have got to improve if we are to get out the position we are in.

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“We are playing a team on Monday who will be exactly like Southend. They will be tentative and nervy. And we have to capitalise on those emotions.”

Walsall created very little in the game and O’Connor admitted his team has to improve in the final third.

“It’s something we have worked on,” he added.

“Our deliveries into the box. Our second phase attacks. We need to be more offensive.

“If you look at the players we have got going forward, Corey (Blackett-Taylor) and Zeli Ismail.

“We need to get more out of them but we need to give them better service.

“We know that - with Cookie (Andy Cook) - we need to give him better service.

“We have worked on it. And it works well in training. But when it counts, on match day, we didn’t really do it. We have to show more quality and composure.”

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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