Sad­dlers re­spond to Posh thrash­ing

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Nick Bull

WALSALL man­ager Dean Smith per­formed a U-turn in opin­ion after the Sad­dlers fol­lowed up their mid­week hor­ror show at Rochdale with a de­served point against Gilling­ham.

The Sad­dlers ar­guably had the bet­ter of the chances through­out this tepid tie as Ash­ley Grimes and James Baxendale both came close to grab­bing a win­ner.

This was the fifth-con­sec­u­tive draw be­tween the two sides and while the Sad­dlers’ search for a first away win since the end of March con­tin­ues, Smith was pleased with the re­sponse fol­low­ing their 4-0 shocker at Spot­land.

“I said to the play­ers at the start of the game that I was look­ing at the per­for­mance,” said Smith.

“Yes, I hoped the re­sult was right, but fol­low­ing Tues­day we wanted to per­form well and we did that.

“They showed what they can do and that gives us a plat­form to build on. We had the bet­ter chances and I thought we looked solid.

“But the draw was a fair re­sult – I think had we got the first goal we would have gone on to win the game.”

The vis­i­tors started brightly and could have been in front twice in the open­ing min­utes.

First, Gills goal­keeper Stephen By­wa­ter made a re­ac­tion save to tip wide after An­thony Forde’s cross was de­flected by de­fender Kort­ney Hause.

Grimes then flicked a shot at By­wa­ter when any con­tact on Forde’s teas­ing cross looked like it would re­sult in a goal for the Sad­dlers.

And Baxendale should have given the vis­i­tors all three points in the 79th minute fol­low­ing another ex­cel­lent cross from Forde, but the on-rush­ing mid­fielder headed wide.

Joint-lead­ing scorer Cody McDon­ald came the clos­est for the Gills, who re­main beaten at home at Pri­est­field this sea­son.

The for­mer Nor­wich striker had an ef­fort blocked by Andy But­ler in the open­ing half, and then shot nar­rowly wide shortly be­fore the hour mark hav­ing been played through by Gills cap­tain Doug Loft.

John Egan’s header was de­flected wide and winger Jer­maine McGlashan threat­ened with a cross-turned-shot.

“It was a frus­trat­ing day be­cause I think we are a lot bet­ter than that,” said Gilling­ham man­ager Peter Tay­lor. “But you can’t change that now – we’ve got to learn from it, which I think we will.

“I want peo­ple to ap­pre­ci­ate that we’re a young team. I could see cer­tain sup­port­ers were dis­ap­pointed; we’re frus­trated but we’re still im­prov­ing.

“Just be­cause we beat Peter­bor­ough in the week, that doesn’t mean we’re just go­ing to turn peo­ple over now.We will have days like we had out there.”

STAR MAN JOHN EGAN Gillingh

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