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Walsall EFL Trophy win 'bittersweet'

Walsall assisant manager Brian Dutton described the Saddlers’ cup win as “bittersweet” as another defender got on scoresheet in the narrow victory.

Kory Roberts
Kory Roberts

Dan Scarr’s goal from close range, after good work from fellow defender Zak Jules, was the difference between Walsall and Southampton’s U21’s in Group D of the EFL Trophy.

The goal came just before half-time and some pragmatic defending from Walsall meant they hung on for their fourth victory in a row, and their first victory in the competition after a goalless draw against Coventry last time out.

And Dutton was pleased with the victory but urged his side to do better in possession.

“It was bittersweet, another solid performance in terms of the 1-0, a clean sheet and I didn’t think Saints caused us too much issues,” he said.

“I’d like to see a little bit more composure in possession and give the fans something to cheer about.

“It’s been very robust so far this season, we’re looking to try and implement more attacking football and a little bit more composure in possession, just to show our qualities.”

The winning goal was another notched by a defender for the Saddlers after captain James Clarke scored in the last two league games.

Striker Elijah Adebayo and winger Wes McDonald both scored their first of the season last time out against Crawley, but drew a blank against Southampton.

Despite the attacking players not getting on the scoresheet, Dutton is encouraging his defenders to take their chances on goal when they present themselves.

“It seems to be a bit of a theme, centre-halfs scoring at the minute for the Saddlers,” he added.

“Julsey (Zak Jules) did what he’s good at, he attacked, he’s very mobile as a centre-half and he got at the Saints player and got a good quality cross in and Dan (Scarr) sniffed it out - very pleased for them.

“James (Clarke) has shown them how to do it, there’s a bit of banter there from the boys, they’re all looking at it and saying ‘why not?’.

“They have the quality, if it’s on, if the opportunity is there, pull the trigger.”

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