Express & Star

Mat Sadler identifies missing ingredient in Walsall's frustrating Forest Green stalemate

Mat Sadler admits Walsall didn't show enough quality in the final third to take all three points in their goalless draw against Forest Green Rovers at Bescot.

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Freddie Draper saw his header saved by James Belshaw in the first half, before the Forest Green goalkeeper prevented Danny Johnson from stealing three points right at the end with another impressive stop.

However, Walsall's lack of conviction in the final third cost them again as they drew a blank for the second successive league game, and extended their winless run to five matches in League Two.

Sadler also felt referee Peter Wright should've pointed to the spot when Ryan Stirk's effort struck the arm of Jordan Moore-Taylor during the first half.

"There were moments in the game that would've clearly lit the game up a little bit more. We had a good chance from a long throw where Freddie gets a good chance and the keeper makes a good reaction save," Sadler said.

"Then I think it's a penalty. The referee has got a really good angle of it as well. He is looking right down the barrel of it so I don't see how he doesn't give that.

"Those things didn't light the game up. We took a little bit of time to get into that, especially for the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game.

"When we got into that, we looked likely to create something, especially in the wide area with Ronan (Maher) during the first half.

"But when that didn't come and the game didn't present that, it kind of petered itself into a stalemate. The big moments when there was a big opportunity, we didn't quite have the quality today."

Joe Riley has been absent since picking up a knee injury against Harrogate, and Sadler has revealed that he is looking at possibly two months on the side lines.

Ross Tierney and Harry Williams are edging closer to a return, while Jack Earing will play in the Birmingham Senior Cup as he steps up his recovery from a long-term knee injury.

"Joe will be a couple of months with a knee injury. I don't know if anybody has seen him but he had a big brace on his knee," he revealed.

"We've missed Ross. His energy in the press really underpins what we're about. He is not too far off but Barrow - who knows if that will come too quickly for him.

"But he's not too far away. Harry is not too far out and is probably about the same time frame as Ross.

"Jack will play in the Birmingham Senior Cup on Tuesday. That's the next part of his recovery to play in a game."