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Mixed feelings for Matt Taylor after Walsall draw

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor cut a happy but also frustrated figure as the Saddlers produced an impressive performance on their travels at Leyton Orient – without finding the finishing touch to seal that elusive first away win.

SPORT COPYRIGHT MNA MEDIA TIM THURSFIELD 16/10/21 .LEYTON ORIENT V WALSALL.Walsall manager Matt Taylor.
SPORT COPYRIGHT MNA MEDIA TIM THURSFIELD 16/10/21 .LEYTON ORIENT V WALSALL.Walsall manager Matt Taylor.

A lively and at times feisty contest at the Breyer Group Stadium ended in a goalless draw, but with Walsall having more of the game particularly in the second half without turning the many moments of promise into chances to overly trouble Orient keeper Lawrence Vigouroux.

To come away disappointed with only a point from a top six side expected to be among the promotion-chasers was another sign of the progress being made in the first few months of Taylor’s first season at the helm.

“It was everything we wanted and everything we spoke about in terms of a gameplan except for the missing ingredient in putting away the chances that we created,” said Taylor.

“That’s not a new conversation that we are having and so we have got to get better.

“How do we get better? We get better by practicing and using our time on the training pitch to expose the players to those type of incidents.

“I just felt we made the right pass, but with the wrong pace on the ball – it was either too hard or wasn’t hard enough.

“But we looked a threat on the counter attack and we built very well.

“It is a difficult place to come and in the first ten minutes they pressed us and we made errors and it was probably the only time I felt we were vulnerable if we gave away possession in our half.

“But the players stuck to it and from my perspective as the coach it was fantastic to see that they are understanding how powerful the identity is that they have on the pitch.”

One of Walsall’s chances fell to former Orient striker Conor Wilkinson, who made another bright impact from the bench as he returns from injury, but saw a powerful shot and cross both dealt with by the hosts’ keeper.

“Conor nearly won it for us but it probably hasn’t helped that he played with Lawrence (Vigouroux) for a period of time and he probably understands that if gets into a certain position he is going to go to the near post,” added Taylor.

“That was how he got his goal last weekend and that was how he got his goal previously.”

At the other end of the pitch a strong defensive display saw Walsall record their second clean sheet of the season, with Orient not able to produce a single shot on target.

“That (clean sheet) was hugely important,” Taylor said.

“It was a step in the right direction, however I am extremely annoyed that we didn’t take three points today.

“That tells you what I think about our players and what I think about as a team.

“We knew this was going to be tough but every single one of them stuck to the gameplan and stuck to their jobs.

“But I still want that extra bit of quality in the final third.”

Walsall are back in action again at Oldham on Tuesday night before welcoming Barrow to the Banks’s Stadium next weekend.

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