14 March 2023

Boss Michael Flynn: Walsall are lacking a cutting edge in the final third

14 March 2023

Boss Michael Flynn called on shot-shy Walsall to risk pulling the trigger more after drawing another blank in a goalless draw with Swindon in Sky Bet League Two.

The stalemate made it 418 minutes without a home goal and 12 league matches without a win for the Saddlers, despite showing more promise in attacking positions.

Flynn’s charges certainly had the better chances, with Manny Monthe bombing forward from full-back to fire narrowly wide in first-half stoppage time and Matty Stevens producing a tame finish when bearing down on goal just 12 seconds after the restart.

“We’ve just got to stick together and keep working hard,” said Flynn.

“It was a big improvement on Saturday when the first half was nowhere near what I expect but they had a go.

“There were positives, but we are just lacking that cutting edge in the final third, which I’ve said all season.

“Obviously it is playing on their minds subconsciously, you can see that. They are not shooting when they should be.

“I’ve just said I’d rather them shoot and it go over the bar than turn down the opportunity to shoot or take that extra touch.

“We’ve just got to be a lot more confident and careful with our pass. I’d be worried if they didn’t care, but you can see the work they are putting in.”

Swindon seemed to have built a platform to kick on during the first 45 minutes but found it tough to recover following that scare so soon after the restart.

The visitors did come to life during the closing stages, though, with substitute Rushian Hepburn-Murphy having a shot headed clear by Liam Gordon, Ronan Darcy seeing a 25-yard blast pushed around the left-hand post by Owen Evans and Charlie Austin stooping to head wide under pressure at the death.

Robins boss Jody Morris said: “I was fairly pleased with how we did in the first half but we started the second really badly.

“The first action of the second half was poor and we went on repeating mistakes, we didn’t get into our rhythm again for maybe 25, 30 minutes when we began to look better and threaten the goal.

“I was disappointed, we can’t afford to waste big moments in games like that, it was sloppy play.

“I can’t fault their work-rate. I said at half-time that I was really pleased with the shift they put in with some really good stuff off the ball. I can’t complain about the application, but we got into a rut at the start of the second half and it took us far too long to snap out of it.

“It’s a point away from home but I would like us to play a lot better than that.”

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