Darrell Clarke hails 'tremendous' Walsall defence
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has hailed his 'tremendous' defence for overcoming their set piece struggles against Newport County.
The Saddlers had conceded five goals from set pieces in the four games leading up to their Tuesday night fixture in south Wales.
After playing out a 0-0 draw, in which Walsall had to defend several corners and free-kicks, Clarke was pleased with the team's solid back line.
"They're very good at it and jumping on the second balls, so defensively we had to be solid," he said.
"It's the same for both teams, so I'm not grumbling, but it isn't a passing pitch.
"They're so many bobbles so it was always going to be a difficult night.
"They're a very good second-ball team that was cause you a lot of problems.
"I thought we were very sloppy in possession of the ball but it was 10 out of 10 for effort and the desire to get a clean sheet.
"We've been a bit sloppy defending set plays and we knew we'd be truly tested (against Newport) so to come out with a clean sheet - with all the long throws and corners - I thought we were tremendous at that.
"Hopefully that gives the boys confidence because we have to be better at it than in recent weeks."
Meanwhile, 188 Walsall fans made the 100-mile mid-week journey to Newport on a freezing cold February evening.
Although Clarke was keen to apologise for the lacklustre game they watched, he also thanked them for their commitment to spur his team on.
"We'll take the positives out of it and apologise to our supporters who came because it wasn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination," he added.
"But they appreciate the boys' effort and it's something for us to build on.
"I can only apologise that it wasn't a classic but they appreciate the grittiness of the performance.
"We really appreciate their support coming down on a miserable day, we thank them for their efforts."