Grimsby boss Paul Hurst rues a missed chance as the Mariners are held by Walsall
Grimsby manager Paul Hurst admitted his side’s draw with Walsall felt like a defeat as they missed the chance to make up some vital ground at the bottom of League Two.
The Mariners were held to a 1-1 draw by the out-of-form Saddlers, with Caolan Lavery’s goal just before half-time earning the visitors a point after James Hanson’s early opener.
The point brings Grimsby closer to safety, but with Southend picking up a crucial win at Harrogate, their task to stay in the league remains a tough one.
“You would think on any given day if you were invited into the dressing room that we’d lost that game,” Hurst said.
“The lads felt that it was a real chance to back up Tuesday night and get a win. We still got something from the game, but of course we wanted that three points, not one.
“After having a great start, we didn’t build on that in the first half. Second half, we had lots of possession, lots of territory, but not enough quality.
“I mean this respectfully to Walsall, but I almost got the sense that we were favourites going into the game, and that mentality maybe brought a different kind of pressure that I feel the players perform with.
“We spoke about trying to start the second half well, but it was as though we had to score straight away to have a chance of winning the game, and obviously it takes time.”
The draw means Walsall’s winless run is extended to 12 games, with manager Brian Dutton remaining under pressure as he awaits his first win in charge.
But the Saddlers’ boss admitted to being delighted with his side’s point, and he feels his team have done enough to guarantee their safety.
“It wasn’t the win I was after, but to be honest if you had told me that I could take a point from the Southend game and a point from the Grimsby game, I’d have probably taken it,” Dutton said.
“That keeps the wolves from the door, and it leaves us with fixtures that we can go and attack now.
“I think Grimsby and Southend have to do something pretty phenomenal between now and the end of the season to overtake us.
“We need these lads to step up to the mark and make impacts, and that was the war cry, and they did that in abundance.
“It was a big gut-check for the boys, and they haven’t let me down on the gut-checks. They’ve let me down with quality in certain games, but in terms of the gut-checks, we’ve only ever lost games by the odd goal.
“They needed to react, and I thought they did.”