Darrell Clarke says Walsall got away with ‘daylight robbery’ at Forest Green
Walsall boss Darrell Clarke insisted his side got away with “daylight robbery” as the Saddlers huffed and puffed their way to a 1-1 draw at Forest Green.
Caolan Lavery handed Walsall a first-half lead in a game bossed by Rovers, who levelled things up on the hour through Jamille Matt.
Clarke who was booked during the dying embers of the game, raged: “We were shocking; absolutely awful apart from one bit of quality for the goal and that was it.
“We were shocking and got away with daylight robbery – miles off our performance levels today and not good enough.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Forest Green because they’re a good side, but we weren’t good enough today.
However, Clarke heaped praise on his managerial counterpart Mark Cooper.
He said: “Forest Green are going to be right up there this season.
“Mark Cooper’s managerial record at Swindon, and every club he’s been at, he’s brought success to the football club.
“He’s an experienced manager, knows how he wants his team to perform, very enjoyable on the eye and they seem to be getting stronger.”
A goalkeeping masterclass from Liam Roberts denied Forest Green as both sides maintained their unbeaten starts to the season.
Walsall went ahead through their first meaningful attack as Bristol City loanee George Nurse arrowed over a cross for Lavery to nod beyond the exposed Luke McGee.
Rovers bossed possession but squandered a plethora of first-half opportunities – Aaron Collins inducing a save Roberts and Matt scuffing wide with just the keeper to beat.
Matt had a penalty appeal turned down when falling in the box under the challenge of Hayden White as he prepared to meet an inviting Nicky Cadden cross.
Ebou Adams spurned a golden opportunity to draw parity just five minutes after the resumption but he inexplicably fizzed wide with only Roberts to beat.
Roberts kept Walsall’s lead intact when superbly touching over Collins’ howitzer from the edge of the box.
Rovers drew level after 61 minutes as Collins picked out Matt for a cool close-range finish.
Matt was denied a second with 15 minutes to go as Roberts scooped the ball off the line.
Roberts saved the day again for the Saddlers – clawing away another powerful Collins effort.
Cooper lauded his side in a game he felt his team dominated.
He said: “The boys are playing brilliantly and we dominated the game again and had 27 shots so as a coach you can’t ask for much more, but we remain unbeaten and have to keep positive.
“We had six really good chances and I have full confidence that the boys will come good. As a group we’re in a good place as we’re playing so well.”
And Cooper felt his side should have been handed a penalty when Matt was hauled down in the box.
He added:“I made a conscious decision to not to talk about referees, but the referee today was horrendous. Antony Coggins has had some good games, but today he was a bit rusty and was poor.”