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Bescot Banter: Pressing issues need ironing out

We're back with another look at the Saddlers, and last weekend's defeat to Salford City gave us all a rather unwelcome reminder of just a few of the issues which have contributed to another season of struggle in WS1.

Salford v Walsall
Salford v Walsall

After enjoying a run of six games without defeat, including victories over Hartlepool United, Sutton United, and Oldham Athletic, our strong spell came to an annoying end last Saturday afternoon as the Ammies were only too happy to take advantage of yet more charitable defending.

Taking the lead via Rollin Menayese's first goal of the campaign - Rollin making the most of his opportunity after he replaced the injured Donervon Daniels with just five minutes on the clock - the Saddlers were soon dragged back onto level terms as Matt Smith was afforded the freedom of the penalty area and slipped the ball past an exposed Jack Rose.

Salford's second, and ultimately the match-winning goal, arrived midway through the second-half as Liam Kinsella was adjudged to have handled inside the area, leading to a Ryan Watson spot-kick, the midfield man making it look easy as he sent Rose the wrong way.

There is no denying the team has shown great improvement under new boss Michael Flynn, the former Newport County man has been able to guide the team away from danger and all but secure a spot in the fourth tier for at least another season, but individual errors continue to play a huge role in almost every matchday - a statement we've made on more than one occasion so far this season.

From Matt Smith's leveler to Kinsella's handball, which you could argue was simply a natural instinct as the midfield maestro fell to the ground and blocked Ash Hunter's cross, both of the Ammies' goals arrived as a result of Saddlers sloppiness with the team once again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Although the form guide shows the team is enjoying one of its strongest runs of the season, losing just twice in ten games when compared to the seven-game losing streak which resulted in a change of Head Coach, we're still a little concerned that the squad seems incapable of learning from its mistakes.

If next season is to be anything resembling a successful one then the team has to stop shooting itself in the foot on a regular basis. We've dropped far too many points already this season, and a continuation of that into the next campaign will surely result in yet another season of struggle.

Clearly, the gaffer and Technical Director Jamie Fullarton will be working hard to improve the squad over the summer, and we fully expect some of the team's stronger performers to grow even further as they continue to learn how their boss wants them to play, but there is still plenty of work to be done if we're to truly turn a corner.

As Walsall reporter Joe Edwards covered in one of his midweek musings, the team is lacking in many areas including creativity and defensive ability, and, unless addressed, these issues will continue to drag the team back towards the lower reaches of the table.

Though the team has made great strides over recent weeks, victories over teams battling for promotion more than proving there are the makings of a strong, capable team among our group of ruffians, points continue to be dropped, and as a result, progress halted.

With the Saddlers facing just seven games between now and the end of the campaign, we hope the gaffer and his team will use the remaining weeks to iron out a few of the more pressing issues and go into the summer on the back of another string of solid displays.

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