In quotes: Walsall v Bolton

The final word on Wanderers' defeat to the Saddlers as rounds up manger, player and local press post-match reaction

Ten-man Wanderers saw their unbeaten start to the 2016/17 Sky Bet League One season come to an end away at Walsall on Saturday.

Rounding up the manager, player and local press' post-match reaction alike, offers the final word on the match... 

How saw it...
Wanderers suffered their first defeat in Sky Bet League One action this season as they went down by a single goal at the Banks’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The hosts had been reduced to ten men inside 16 minutes as Joe Edwards was sent off for elbowing Chris Taylor in the head, but it was the Saddlers who opened the scoring following a mix-up at the back through Jason McCarthy shortly after.

Phil Parkinson’s side threw everything at their opponents during the remainder of the clash, seeing efforts crash off the crossbar whilst Keshi Anderson was also dismissed for a second bookable offence, but it wasn’t enough as they left empty handed.

I thought we started okay and created some good chances. Their sending off set us back a bit, especially conceding a poor goal soon after too, but we still had our moments.

I thought we lost our way a little bit in the first half, but we changed our shape in the second period and I felt that we did everything to get ourselves back into the game.

The keeper has pulled off some incredible saves today, although there are also a few questions over our composure.

Ultimately though, it wasn’t to be. We’ll dust ourselves down though and get ready for next weekend’s game against Bradford.

How Jamie Proctor saw it...
It’s extremely disappointing. We played some OK stuff in the second half and gave it a go. What’s most disappointing is we started the game really well in the first 10-15 minutes. 

The sending off really affected us in a way that it shouldn’t. That’s unacceptable really as we should have been on the front foot but were actually on the back foot for a while before half time. 

Their goalkeeper’s made some great saves. We put the pressure on him and had a lot of possession in and around their box. We created some great chances and it’s shown that he’s got man of the match.

We did all we could in the second half and we’re disappointed that we have nothing from it. 

It was very harsh for me but it actually united us and had the opposite effect. You could see the type of atmosphere we had in the ground was similar to last year, which was great to see. 

They [the players] were outstanding – every one of them. I know Neil Etheridge made some great saves but the man of the match should go to the whole team. 

Credit to them – they deserve it – but it wasn’t a massive shock to me as we were quite confident that we could get a result against Bolton and I believe in the players.
Phil Parkinson’s team still sit second in the league and as the manager reassured supporters after the final whistle, they are still creating plenty of goal-scoring chances. The trouble is, taking them has suddenly become an issue.

Faced with 10 men for 75-plus minutes at the Banks’s Stadium this should not have been as difficult as Wanderers made it.

True, Walsall keeper Neil Etheridge had the kind of game he will probably tell his grandchildren about one day, but his belligerence was only part of the problem for the Whites.

Etheridge’s saves from Chris Taylor, David Wheater and Jamie Proctor were top class yet Parkinson will know deep down his team should have been out of sight even before the second-half heroics.

Had the Whites grabbed a goal a second would surely have followed but that look of anguish on the face of their players after a missed opportunity is becoming an all-too-familiar sight.

Parkinson can hardly be too critical with his side second in the table yet his perfect start is now slipping disappointingly into the distance. What price three points against Bradford next weekend for a well-timed filip?

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