Express & Star

Michael Flynn blasts wasteful Walsall

Walsall boss Michael Flynn has called out their lack of ruthlessness and failure to look after the ball well enough after losing to Grimsby Town.


The Saddlers took an early lead at Bescot as in-form striker Danny Johnson grabbed his seventh goal of the campaign.

Missed chances – particularly from Tom Knowles – and a negative second half where they sat back and invited pressure, though, allowed Grimsby to come back and win 2-1 through Harry Clayton's double.

Asked where things went wrong, Flynn said: "Because we don’t punish teams. That’s the second game now, one against Stevenage and today we should have been out of sight.

"When you don’t punish teams, you can sense it. I turned to Hats (assistant Wayne Hatswell) and said 'this has déjà vu written all over it'.

"The first goal we gave away was a disgrace, letting people run across you, slow recovery runs, and it’s a shame because they did work hard.

"But I would rather the stats be a bit lower and have three points on board.

"We weren’t fluent in midfield. The midfield was non-existent.

"I always say we win together and lose together, but if we take our chances, the game is done. It's as simple as that.

"Again, we have let a team off the hook, at both ends."

Knowles missed clear-cut opportunities in either half for Walsall, sending one wide and the other straight at Mariners keeper Max Crocombe.

"Tom, he is disappointed but, you know what, as a team you then win the game 1-0, you help a mate, and you’ve got the feelgood factor because you’ve got the three points," said Flynn.

"Grimsby will be over the moon because they score with their first and second shots on target, so it was proper smash and grab.

"But they handled the ball better than us in midfield and were able to get the ball out wide where we didn’t switch on quick enough.

"I will take Liam Bennett out of that because he was very good, but we need to step up."

Flynn added: "I’m not going to overreact. We are ninth in the table after six games, we are two points below the target I like to set for every block of six games.

"It is not a complete disaster, but we could easily be on 15 points, almost double of what we are on.

"My concern was the chances we missed, the midfield on the ball and the defending for their goals.

"I’m not just going to blame Tom or the defence. The midfield need responsibility as well.

"Being brave is not going getting stuck into a two-footed tackle and getting the crowd on their feet.

"Yes, that’s good but getting on the ball and passing it forward and receiving it in tight spaces in order to create space for your team-mates, that’s brave. We didn't do that at all."