Express & Star

Mat Sadler describes emotion in Walsall dressing room with one word

Walsall boss Mat Sadler says the emotion is still "raw" as Walsall's play-off dream is left hanging by the thinnest of threads after they blew a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 against Bradford City at Bescot.


That result leaves Walsall two points adrift of the play-offs, although Doncaster can knock them out of the play-off race mathematically if they win their game in hand against Colchester United on Tuesday night.

"It still feels very raw. We need a little bit of luck on Tuesday," Sadler said.

"We need a few results to go our way, stranger things have happened. It'd be nice to be fighting into the last day but we'll have to see how those things go.

"If we won the game then we'd have put ourselves right in the position. Sometimes you get those ding dong strange games at the end of the season and it felt like one of those today."

Walsall made the perfect start as Ryan Stirk fired them into a seventh-minute lead, before Mo Faal doubled their advantage with 16 on the clock.

But Andy Cook halved the deficit three minutes later, although Isaac Hutchinson crashed a low shot against the post and Liam Gordon blazed a golden chance over as Walsall remained in the ascendency.

"I thought we were really front-foot, high energy and exactly how we wanted to play. There was some fantastic football played and there were some moments where we could get that third goal potentially," Sadler continued.

"It was a real sucker punch when Andy Cook got his goal. It felt like we were covered quite well at the back post but we didn't quite deal with it.

"It's a great striker's goal from him as hard as that is for me to say. The majority of the game felt like I was watching towards the opposition goal but unfortunately we couldn't quite defend the key moments today."

Jamie Walker scored either side of half-time to decide the contest but was shown a second yellow card as Walsall chased an equaliser for the final 20 minutes.

Tom Knowles' low driven effort struck the post and crossbar, before the substitute forced a late save out of Sam Walker, as a late leveller proved evasive.

The Walsall boss concluded: "Especially when we go 2-0 up early then it's 2-2 before you know it. We've hit the post and had other chances but sometimes you get that in the final weeks of the season.

"Probably reflected on throwing the kitchen sink at games and the mentality can sometimes shift. There's something to be said about that in terms of that mentality of just wanting to play the game in front of you but we're all human.

"I have to be positive about the way we started the game but unfortunately we fell on the other side of defending our penalty area in those key moments. But we're learning, it was another good experience for the group and I am sure it will stand us in good stead next season."