Walsall manager Darrell Clarke admitted his Saddlers side are “failing miserably” after a 1-0 defeat at home to Bradford extended their winless run to nine games in all competitions.
The Saddlers sit 21st in the League Two standings after Liam Kinsella’s late own goal gave Bradford victory in the battle of two relegated sides, although City striker James Vaughan claimed he got the last touch.
Walsall dominated possession but ex-Saddlers stopper Richard O’Donnell thwarted Caolan Lavery and Rory Gaffney to leave the hosts with just three goals from eight league games.
Clarke said: “It’s there for all to see. We’ve worked the ball into good areas of the pitch and we haven’t taken care of it in the final third yet again. We are thoroughly disappointed.
“We have to keep going but at the minute we are failing miserably. I am failing miserably and we have to do a lot, lot, better than we have been.
“We were too quick to try to find a pass rather than get a shot away and get on the front foot. You don’t want your players losing that belief.
“No team has turned us over – in the majority of the games we’ve been the better team but games are won in both boxes and we are not doing well enough in the opposing box.
“We just have to take more responsibility in that final third and as soon as that starts coming, we will start winning games on a more consistent basis.”
Vaughan saw an early goal ruled out for a foul, forced two good saves from keeper Liam Roberts and then won a second-half penalty – that he blazed over – for a foul by Dan Scarr.
He made amends by pressuring Kinsella for the decisive 83rd-minute own goal and boss Gary Bowyer said: “James is an experienced striker and he’s a handful in this league.
“The first goal that was disallowed, it was a poor decision but he didn’t get upset by that or by missing the penalty.
“I’ve got to admire our spirit and our desire to keep going to the end.
“They never know when it’s over, they just keep going even when we’ve had the disappointment of a perfectly good goal in the first half being disallowed and then missing the penalty. The response was terrific.
“Today’s result goes a long way in giving the players extra belief.
“We started very well but it became one of those games where it did look like one goal would win it.
“People see us a big scalp in this league so we have to develop the mindset to keep together and be tough and performances and results like today help to give you that greater confidence.”