Football - Smith upbeat despite Scunthorpe setback

Walsall were prevented from climbing into the play-offs after conceding a late equaliser to draw at Scunthorpe, but Saddlers boss Dean Smith believes his in-form side can still finish in the top six.

PA Sport

Centre-back Niall Canavan salvaged struggling Scunthorpe a 1-1 draw with an 88th-minute header. However, the Iron remain deep in relegation trouble and only a brilliant stoppage-time save by Eirik Holmen Johansen saved them from defeat as the Saddlers pressed for the winning goal that would have seen them climb into the play-off places.

After a slow start, the visitors looked set for the three points they needed when leading marksman Will Grigg, back after injury, fired them in front from close range after 54 minutes with his 19th goal of the season from a good pull-back by Craig Westcarr.

"We are still in a great position," said Smith, whose side are now unbeaten in 14 league games and are one point behind sixth-placed Swindon but having played a game more than the Robins.

"We have just now got to prepare ourselves to go again in our last two games of the season. This bunch of players have worked so hard in the second half of the season to get us into the position we are now in.

"I was disappointed with the way we played in the first half - and I told them so. I thought we came out in the second half and showed much more spirit.

"It was a difficult decision to bring Will Grigg back into the team after injury when we had been playing so well, but he is our leading scorer with 20 goals now this season and you can't afford to leave someone like that out. That was underlined when he shot us in front early in the second half.

"We should then have gone on and killed the game off. We had the chances and I think we were unfortunate not to win.

"We have a very disappointed dressing room in there, but other results have gone for us and we have not lost any ground. We have now got to go again next Saturday when we take on Bury."

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