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Dean Keates: Walsall defeat at Blackpool 'hurts'

By Joseph Masi | Walsall FC | Published:

Boss Dean Keates admitted he was hurting after Walsall put in a dominant second-half display only to lose 2-0 at Blackpool.

Dean Keates

In what was a scrappy opening 45 minutes, a well-taken goal from Chris Long saw the host go into the interval a goal to the good.

But the Saddlers emerged from the break a different side and put the hosts under relentless pressure.

Joe Edwards, Andy Cook, Matt Jarvis and Jon Guthrie all went close before Jarvis saw a 66th-minute penalty saved by Mark Howard.

Remi Oteh then should have been awarded a second spot-kick before he forced Howard into another outstanding stop.

And Walsall could have even had a third penalty when Edwards saw a header blocked by the arm of a defender.

But despite creating chance after chance, Walsall couldn't find a way through.

The result means they now sit just two points above the relegation zone in League One with only one win in their last 11 games.

And Keates admitted his side now face a massive game against rock-bottom AFC Wimbledon.

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"We’ve got a massive game for this football club now on Tuesday night," he said.

“First quarter of the season, outstanding. Second quarter, nowhere near good enough. We are going into a 15-game season and we need to make sure we are giving this football club every chance of being in League One next season.

“I’m a local lad, I'm accountable for it. And it hurts."

On the result and penalties, Keates said: "It’s a tough one to take.

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"Jarvis has took the penalty and the keeper has gone early and made a good save.

"It hits him and spins out the other side of the goal, I think that’s where our luck is at the moment.

“On the other side of that, we have been denied blatant penalties.

"Curtis Tilt first handballs it, then in the second phase Remi (Oteh) has almost been assaulted he's pulled his to the ground that much.

"There is also another blatant handball.

"The referee is in good positions, I’ve seen them back. I spoke to him after the game and said, we will see what you are about.

"If he watches the game back, I will expect an email of apology for getting those decisions wrong."

Keates was disappointed to concede so early with Long giving Blackpool a 14th minute lead with Harry Pritchard wrapping up the scoring late on.

"We’ve not given ourselves a chance the first 20 minutes," the boss added.

"The way football is, you’ve got to earn the right to play.

"And we’ve given a sloppy goal away. It’s a great finish off the kid, tight angle, he put it in the bottom corner.

"But we need to be higher. We were too deep.

“After the first 20 minutes, I thought we grew into the game. We had opportunities in the first half. And then in the second half, we were camped in their half and got caught out at the end."

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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