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Match Reaction: "It Wasn't One For the Purists"

Assistant manager Brian Dutton spoke to the press following Walsall's League Two clash with Port Vale.
Speaking after the Saddlers had earned their first win of 2021, Dutton insisted the Reds deserved their victory as they battled against the freezing temperatures and poor playing surface at Vale Park.

Despite a long-distance goal from Tom Conlon, who was helped by an error from goalkeeper Liam Roberts, the Saddlers hit the back of the net via an Elijah Adebayo brace and a David Fitzpatrick own goal to take all three points.

Adebayo's barce saw his reach double figures for the season, continuing his spell of form both in the current campaign and against the Valiants, with the former Fulham man scoring six goals in his last six appearances against.

Answering questions posed by the assembled media, Dutton said; "Similar to Morecambe, it wasn’t one for the purists. The football on show was very back to front and robust but if you step foot on the pitch you’ll understand why.

"It’s a terrible pitch to play football on. It was a game about territory and winning second balls. Winning it on a set piece or with a little bit of skill and craft.

"We were deserved winners in the end. The first half we started well and took our foot off the gas.

"We let them back into the game and finished the first half really poorly. In the second half we asserted ourselves and deserved the win."

Attention then turned to winger Jack Nolan, who was left out of the matchday squad despite entering two improved performances over the last week, with on-loan Aston Villa winger Tyreik Wright making his senior debut.

Despite the surprise selection Dutton insisted Jack was simply rested as manager Darrell Clarke continues to consider his options as there is almost half of the season to be played, meaning the gaffer will need all of his players at his disposal.

Along with Wright his fellow loanees Frank Vincent of AFC Bournemouth and Birmingham City's Jayden Reid were named on the bench, giving the manager some fresh legs as several members of his squad continue to battle back from injury.

Brian continued; "We’ve brought these boys in and we have a real depth to the squad. Jack has played two games on the bounce and it’s the first time he’s ever done that in men’s football.

"He’s a player who has struggled with his fitness previously so the gaffer no doubt wanted to freshen it up a little bit in that area of the pitch.

"I thought it worked well. Tyreik has come in and you wouldn’t have known that was his first game in men’s football. He was exceptional, as Jack has been in his previous two games. Yeah, he’s fit."
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