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League One

Walsall boss Dean Smith bemoans penalty decision

29 January 2014

Walsall manager Dean Smith claimed his team were denied a second-half penalty as Swindon Town came from behind to snatch a point on Tuesday night

James Chambers was body-checked by Raphael Branco as he burst into the box but referee Mark Brown rejected appeals for a spot-kick. The lively encounter finished in a 1-1 stalemate between the two Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off hopefuls at the Banks's Stadium.

Smith said: "We should have had a penalty, and Febian Brandy, who was terrific, needed far more protection than he got. He was brought down just outside the box and the player wasn't even booked.

"I'm disappointed with the result because I thought we were terrific at times but poor defending from a corner cost us. I thought the only way they would score was from a set-piece.

"I felt we deserved to win the game but it was just one of those days. I never felt we look like getting beaten - and that's how far we have come, sitting here disappointed with a draw after being the better team.

"Swindon defended well and knew they had to, but we were not as clinical as we were the other day when we won 5-1 at Notts County.``

Romaine Sawyers gave Walsall a 37th minute lead after a flowing move which began with goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell.

But Swindon improved in the second half and equalised when big striker Michael Smith, signed from Charlton Athletic, notched his third goal in two games with a header from a Darren Ward cross after a corner was not cleared.

Saddlers defender Malvind Benning shot just wide near the end and substitute Ashley Hemmings clipped the crossbar in stoppage time but Swindon hung on.

Robins boss Mark Cooper said: "It was a scrappy game and there was a lot of inconsistent refereeing which didn't help the flow of the match.

"Walsall had a spell where they played very well leading up to their goal before half-time, and they started the second half putting us under a lot of pressure. But we switched to three centre-backs with two down the middle and had a good 15 to 20 minute spell when we equalised.

"With our away form, we have got to be satisfied with a draw. Now we have to get three points at home. Walsall are one of the best footballing teams in this league and difficult to play against.

"It would be great if both teams made the Play-Offs because the clubs have small budgets, but there are a lot of games to go."

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