Dean Keates disappointed with Walsall defeat
Dean Keates refused to be drawn on the performance of referee Anthony Coggins - with the boss instead insisting his team weren’t good enough - after Walsall slipped to a 4-1 loss against Doncaster.
The Saddlers tasted defeat in League One for the first time this season with goals from John Marquis, Mallik Wilks, James Coppinger and Matty Blair cancelling out an early strike from Morgan Ferrier.
In what was a feisty and fiery encounter, Coggins incensed the home crowd with a number of strange decisions - all of which seemed to go Doncaster’s way.
Overall though, Keates felt his side failed to hit the heights they have showed in their opening seven league games.
Keates said: “The unbeaten record was never going to go on for the course of the season, was it?
“We are disappointed we have lost a home match – losing any football match, we are disappointed.
“What’s the point of me talking about the referee? There’s no point. People who were here saw his performance.
“We weren’t good enough. We have to look after ourselves – and we weren’t good enough in the first half. There was no tempo there and we didn’t play. We didn’t keep the ball on the turnover, we didn’t make any passes.
“We had a little bit more about us in the second half but we didn’t keep our emotions in check. There wasn’t a calming influence there on the turnover to make better passes.”
On what was a nightmare afternoon for the Saddlers, Ferrier and Luke Leahy had to be separated by their team mates after the two started to scuffle following Doncaster’s third goal.
But Keates said the pair have already put the issue to bed.
“It’s emotions - I’ve had a chat with them in the changing room about it and it’s done and dusted,” the boss continued.
“It’s put to bed, that issue. Ideally, that doesn’t happen on a football pitch.
“I don’t mind seeing it in the changing room but I’m a believer that if it happens, it goes down the plughole with the shampoo come 5pm.
“It’s passion and they care. Some people don’t like having someone else on their back and they are still getting to know each other, it’s still early days for them as a group.
“They are a team – they have shown that for the previous seven games.”
Doncaster levelled the game at 1-1 from the penalty spot after Leahy had was judged to have handled the ball in the box.
The defender had initially headed away a corner and was chasing his own clearance at the time.
But Keates felt the referee made the right decision.
“For me, it was a penalty - he got that decision right,” the boss added.
“If you look at the rules, his arm’s above his head. Luke’s won the first header, the ball’s gone in the air and he’s eager enough to go and try and arrive on the second one.
“He’s got under it and as he’s coming down, he’s jostling for position and his arm is in an unnatural position, it’s above his head so you run the risk.”