Darrell Clarke disappointed with Walsall defensive display

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke insists he is disappointed with his side’s defensive display but pleased with their second half response as his side drew 2-2 away at Harrogate Town.

Darrell Clarke
Darrell Clarke

Despite taking an early lead through Rory Holden, the Saddlers were pegged back by Aaron Martin and Jack Muldoon after a poor first half.

The visitors improved in the second period and had several chances, eventually equalising through Josh Gordon and it was mixed emotions for Clarke.

“I’m very disappointed with our defensive first half performance to be honest with you,” he said.

“Really disappointed in our decision-making with the ball. We got a great start from a well-worked set piece and then didn’t build from there.

“We started going too long and direct, not enough players showing for the ball.

“Defensively I thought we got a bit bullied. We certainly shot ourselves in the foot in the first half.

“The second half, I thought, was a very good response.

“There was only one team and perhaps if we’d got the goal early we might have gone on and won the game. We’ve had chances and been on the front foot.

“I want to win every football match but I suppose if you’d offered me four points after the first two league games, I’d have snapped your hand off.”

Substitute Danny Guthrie was sent off in the second half for two tackles - picking up two yellow cards - but Clarke felt he was hard done by.

“He’s lunged in on the first one but I thought the second one he pulled away,” Clarke added.

“I think it’s a foul but if the referee looks back at that again I think he’ll be a little bit disappointed.

“To get two yellows, the first one you can see (why) but it looks like he’s pulled out and hit him with his backside on the (second) challenge.

“He probably should’ve known with his experience to maybe not go into that, but you want your players committed don’t you.”

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