Jacko's thoughts after the 1-0 defeat away to Walsall
Town boss Mike Jackson blamed players sapping energy levels for this afternoon’s defeat at Walsall. Town went behind early to Craig Westcarr’s winner and never threatened the Saddlers goal all afternoon in what was another blank in terms of goals for the team away from home – a fifth in succession.
“We’ve given away a soft goal and you can’t do that,” said Jackson who described the defeat as ‘disappointing.’ “When you concede early like that the energy levels go down and they’re down enough as it is with seven games in the last 21 days. We’ve got to dust ourselves down from this disappointment. I think there’s been a few draws in and around us today and we’ve got two home games to look forward to after five out of six away.
“I’d have to have a look at their goal again but Woodsy said it took a bit of a deflection off his foot. The first part of the game I didn’t want us to roll it out at the back ‘cos I know what they can do. But we did roll it out, got caught square, their lad has a shot and he scores. But we just have to look forward now to these two home games.
“We started to get a bit of possession to our game but I thought we took too long in possession. We needed to move the ball quicker and I told them that at half time. We were taking three or four touches and they just got 9 behind the ball. We allowed them to do that despite having decent possession in different spells of the game. After the sending off we ran out of legs. And it was running out of legs rather than ideas today. It just caught up with us after so many games. Jon Taylor’s come on but he’s carrying his calf after 5 minutes. So you’re down to 10 men and one of those is injured.
“I don’t think we did enough to work the keeper. We got the ball into some good positions inside their half but that’s our fault that we haven’t done enough. We’ve had two players up front with one in behind but we didn’t do enough and as I said, the energy levels were right down.”
Jackson employed a similar tactic a fortnight ago which earned a precious point at Wolves but accepted it didn’t work quite as well at Walsall. “We didn’t have any cutting edge today I agree, but at Wolves that was four games ago when the energy levels weren’t down as low as they are now. I don’t want to keep using that as an excuse but it’s contributing to what’s happening.”
The gaffer said he’d need to take another look at the Mills red card but said that Westcarr was foolish to put a head against Sam Foley’s when the two came together with 20 minutes left. “Millsy let the ball run away and I’ll look at it. If it’s a red card, I’ll say it’s a red card,” said Jackson. “Their lads been stupid putting his head in like that and you can’t do that nowadays, but I’m not going to criticise other people’s players because it’s not my place. But it changes the game doesn’t it? You’ve more chance of getting some momentum and winning the game with 11 players.”
Jackson praised youngster Dominic Iorfa for his contribution on a full debut at right back but stressed that Jermaine Grandison and Dave McAllister would soon both come back into the reckoning. The manager also explained the decision to rest Tom Eaves: “I think he’s run himself into the ground recently so has earned his rest,” said Jackson. “His hamstring was a bit crampy after the other day and looking at him in training he just didn’t seem his self. But he’s also been a victim of the loan rule which means we can’t name six. I would have liked to have put Tom on the bench but couldn’t because of the loan rules. Mendez-Laing will go back and with Millsy probably looking at a three game ban that might not be a problem for us next week.”
Jackson was asked if results elsewhere had been well received with Town still within just two points of safety: “Yeah, it looks like the Gods might be smiling on us a bit. We’ve worked really hard to get four points from the two games before this. All the players in there are talking about winning these two home games with Stevenage and Crewe – the Tranmere game sits right between them – and I agree with them. With results going in our favour we have to stay positive. We have to start games better though as we’re almost waiting for things to happen at the moment and that’s maybe just the situation we’re in.”