Darrell Clarke: Mixed emotions after Walsall win
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has admitted he has ‘mixed emotions’ after Walsall opened their League Two account with a 1-0 win over Grimsby.
The Saddlers should have tied the game up in the second half with several chances in front of goal, but it was a lone tap-in from Elijah Adebayo that sealed the three points.
James Tilley hit the post in stoppage time for Ian Holloway’s side and although Clarke was pleased with the win, he felt his side could have done more to prevent last minute nerves.
“Apart from them hitting the post (at the end), I think we edged the game if I’m honest,” Clarke said.
“It’s mixed emotions. Obviously delighted to win the game but I’m disappointed with our final third play at times.
“We didn’t look after it like we can. We’ve had numerous chances to be deadly with the final pass.
“I said to the boys in the changing rooms, be rewarded for your hard work, your hard graft.
“What I mean by that is, finish the opportunities you get.
“I’m sure when I’m having a glass of red tonight I’ll be delighted that we’ve started with a win.”
Adebayo’s goal came a minute after he squandered a one-on-one chance with goalkeeper James McKeown - tapping in from a Cameron Norman cross.
When asked about the forwards and Adebayo’s goal, Clarke added: “Right place, right time.
“To be fair to Eli he was probably one of the best of the front four in the first half.
“It’s been a positive week. They’ve had three games in a week, with only a four-week pre-season plan.
“I know it’s the same for everybody but we’ve had two clean sheets in that, one against a Championship team and one against Grimsby.
“We’re delighted with the effort and endeavour of the players but we know we’ll have to get a lot better.
“But I’d be saying that if we won three or four nil.”