13/09/2020

Darrell Clarke: "I Think We Edged the Game"

Darrell Clarke spoke to the press after the Saddlers' opening game of the season.
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke was pleased with his team's attacking endeavour but called upon them to make more of their goal-scoring opportunities following Saturday's League Two victory over Grimsby Town.

Neither side was able to find the back of the net during the opening forty-five minutes although both had opportunities to do just that as they battled over the first points of the league season.

Darrell Clarke's side should have opened the scoring during a spell of second-half domination as they created several un-taken opportunities before Elijah Adebayo ultimately grabbed the only goal of the game on the hour mark, securing three welcome points as the Saddlers look to build upon last season's mid-table finish.

The visitors almost levelled the scores via second-half substitute James Tilley during injury time as his effort hit the post with Saddlers stopper Liam Roberts collecting a welcome clean-sheet as he and summer signing Jack Rose continue to battle over the coveted starting spot.

Speaking to members of the local press, Darrell said; "Apart from them hitting the post, I think we edged the game if I’m honest. It’s mixed emotions.

"Obviously delighted to win the game but I’m disappointed with our final third play at times. We didn’t look after it like we can.

"We’ve had numerous chances to be deadly with the final pass. I said to the boys in the changing rooms, be rewarded for your hard work, your hard graft.

"What I mean by that is, finish the opportunities you get. I’m sure when I’m having a glass of red tonight I’ll be delighted that we’ve started with a win."

Elijah Adebayo opened the scoring as he slotted the ball past former Walsall Academy 'keeper James McKeown following Cameron Norman's cross, as he hopes to build upon the eight goals he managed during his debut season in WS1.

The manager went on to praise the former Fulham forward for being in the right place at the right time before admitting his team must do better when presented with chances similar to the ones created against the Mariners.

Clarke continued; "Right place, right time. To be fair to Eli he was probably one of the best of the front four in the first half. It’s been a positive week.

"They’ve had three games in a week, with only a four-week pre-season plan. I know it’s the same for everybody but we’ve had two clean sheets in that, one against a Championship team and one against Grimsby.

"We’re delighted with the effort and endeavour of the players but we know we’ll have to get a lot better. But I’d be saying that if we won three or four nil."

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