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Match Reaction: "We Have to Regroup & Go Again"

Darrell Clarke spoke to the local press following the Saddlers' League Two clash with Scunthorpe United.
Speaking after his side slipped to their second defeat in as many games, Walsall manager Darrell Clarke admitted the Saddlers' failure to make the most of all their penalty opportunities have cost them over the course of the season.

Tuesday evening's defeat to Scunthorpe saw Josh Gordon have a second-half spot kick saved as stopper Mark Howard leapt the right way to deny flash another welcome goal after Elijah Adebayo was felled inside the area.

Despite failing to make the most of several opportunities in front of goal Walsall did find the back of the net ten minutes into the second-half as winger Wes McDonald bagged his third of the season either side of goals from Myles Hippolyte and Alex Gilliead.

Clarke, who had seen his side go unbeaten through the month of December before last weekend's defeat to Salford City and the midweek slip at home to Scunthorpe, insisted his team practise spot kicks but have to make more of the opportunities if they are to get back to winning ways.

Speaking to the assembled media, Darrell said; "They practice them every day. Josh is forever on it. Eli is forever on it. Lavery is forever on it and practicing penalties. It’s not something that we don’t do.

"The lads do it. Josh has scored the last couple he’s had. Josh takes it and the ‘keeper saves it. The lads have to keep working on it. It’s cost us a few points. It’s the difference of a manager sometimes getting the chop isn’t it.

"It’s six or nine points chucked away, that’s the way it is for a football manager. A player can miss a shot from twelve yards and you’re a rubbish manager, it’s a strange old world."

The manager was then asked whether the missed spot kick was a turning point in the game, Clarke continued; "Yeah obviously but Josh Gordon epitomises what the club is about, so I’m not going to criticise Josh. The ‘keeper has saved it and he will stand up and front up."

As the Saddlers end 2020 with a duo of defeats manager Clarke admitted he is frustrated with his side’s inconsistency, agreeing the team will have to get back on track as soon as possible with plenty of points still up for grabs.

Darrell added; "We get ourselves into a challenging position in the league and we’re so frustrating. I think we can beat any team on our day but I think we can lose to any team sometimes, but still dominate large parts of the games.

"It’s a sombre changing room. It’s a sombre staff. We think we chucked the points down the pan again and we have to regroup and go again on Saturday."

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