REPORT | Walsall 0 Rochdale 3×
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REPORT | Walsall 0 Rochdale 3
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REPORT | Walsall 0 Rochdale 3

REPORT | Walsall 0 Rochdale 3

5:42 pm Saturday, 2 January 2016  
Earlier today, Walsall Football Club played host to Rochdale in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. You can read our match report below.
Earlier today, Walsall Football Club played host to Rochdale in the latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture of the season. You can read our match report below.

The Saddlers were handed a boost ahead of kick off as Tom Bradshaw was fit enough to return on the bench. Sam Mantom was replaced by Anthony Forde in the starting XI.

Walsall kicked the match off, but it was Rochdale who had the opening chance of the game following a sloppy pass from Andy Taylor, Henderson found himself in space and attempted to chip Neil Etheridge in the Walsall goal.

The Saddlers stopper was alert to the danger and tipped the ball over the bar. Calvin Andrew volleyed over the bar from the resulting corner, a slow start for the Saddlers.

Rochdale opened the scoring after three minutes of play, Henderson slotting home following good play down the Saddlers' right wing. The men in red simply not getting going in the opening few minutes.

Neil Etheridge was again called into action after seven minutes of play as Cannon sent in a powerful drive from the edge of the area, the Saddlers stopper got down well to push the ball away.

Rochdale continued to be the better side as a McDermott cross caused the Saddlers defence a few issues, Etheridge forced to punch the ball away as the hosts sought to break up the field.

Walsall did begin to get the ball down, and saw a Forde shot drift wide of goal. Before the effort Walsall had put together a good attacking move as Forde, Sawyers and Lalkovic looked to combine, good defending prevented Milan from getting his shot away.

With fourteen minutes on the clock Walsall were awarded a free kick in a central position following a soft foul by former Saddler Olly Lancashire. Walsall decided to work the ball into the box but the visitors did well to push the hosts back and eventually break up-field.

There was then a lengthy spell of play in the middle of the park, where the Saddlers were much improved but still failed to test the 'keeper, plenty of endeavour for the men in red but they were sitting very deep in an attempt to quell their opponents attacking threat.

Demetriou did well to break down the right, but could only send his cross into the hands of the goalkeeper, good work from the stopper as the Saddlers again failed to really test him.

Walsall did have the odd lapse in concentration, Cannon doing well to cut inside his marker, but could only find the side netting with his effort, the Saddlers lucky he wasn't a little more clinical in front of goal.

Neil Etheridge was called into action with thirteen minutes of the half remaining, Vincenti finding himself in a good amount of space, his long-range effort was saved well by the Saddlers stopper.

Etheridge was alert to more danger a few minutes later, Henderson again in space, the Saddlers stopper doing well to tip his powerful header over the bar as the flag was raised for offside.

Rochdale's Donal McDermott became the first player of the afternoon to be booked, a poor challenge giving the referee little choice but to raise the card for the first time in the game.

A few minutes later McDermott saw a low cross come to nothing as the ball evaded everyone, the winger with some nice play out wide, unlucky not to find a fellow Rochdale player.

While the game continued, Walsall's Jordan Cook received some treatment for a head injury, he eventually returned to the pitch with a bandage on his forehead.

The visitors were awarded a corner following a saved McDermott effort. The winger took the flag kick, but it was headed away by the Saddlers as Rochdale sought to push further forward with time ticking away.


Walsall made a change ahead of the second half as Kieron Morris replaced Jordan Cook. Sean O'Driscoll looking to make an attacking change following a poor first half display.

The visitors kicked the second half off, and enjoyed a good spell of possession in the early goings, with Walsall forced to play deeper than usual.

The first effort on goal of the half came after around fifty minutes as Etheridge was alert to tip a deflected Calvin Andrew effort over the bar, James O'Connor getting something on the ball as the shot was unleashed. Donal McDermott fired wide from the resulting corner.

Rochdale continued to force the Saddlers back, looking to get the ball high up the pitch, giving the Saddlers very little room to break out.

The visitors doubled their lead just before the hour mark, Calvin Andrew heading home from a McDermott corner, sloppy from the Saddlers as Sean O'Driscoll made his second substitution of the match with Tom Bradshaw replacing Milan Lalkovic.

Following the change Walsall were still unable to get their passing game going, plenty of energy from their opponents as they looked for rush the Saddlers when they tried to advance up the field.

Walsall were awarded a free kick following a poor tackle on Andy Taylor, Cannon rightly booked in the process.

Calvin Andrew rose highest to clear the danger as the Saddlers sent the ball in. The resulting corner was also partially cleared by Andrew. The Saddlers looked to press forward but their move came to nothing as a goal kick was awarded.

With twenty minutes of the half remaining Ian Henderson had another shot on goal, Neil Etheridge doing well to pad the ball away, a goal kick was awarded as the visitors failed to make use of the second ball.

With seventy-two minutes on the clock the Saddlers made their third and final change of the game as Rico Henry replaced Andy Taylor, fresh legs down the wing as Walsall looked to get back into the game.

Rochdale won a corner following the change as McDermott was in acres of space in the middle of the pitch, his shot deflecting for the flag kick. The corner was cleared as the visitors were awarded a free kick in a neutral position as Walsall looked to attack.

The visiting side went further into the lead after seventy-seven minutes as Calvin Andrew swept home following a good break, McDermott laying the ball in to his path as Walsall failed to deal with the danger.

Rochdale could've further extended their lead as Neil Etheridge saved from point blank range, the follow up was cleared for a corner, which was worked into the area, a free kick was awarded to the Dale, this came to nothing as McDermott wasted the opening.

Ahead of the corner the visitors made a change with Bennett replacing Camps. They went on to make another change following the corner, Allen replacing Vincenti on this occasion.

As Neil Etheridge was named sponsor's man of the match the stopper was again forced into action, McDermott with a strong effort, Etheridge gathering the ball at the second time of asking.

As Calvin Andrew became the third booking of the match, the visitors replaced Donal McDermott with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

The Saddlers had a free kick late on but the opportunity came to nothing as George Evans sent the ball well over the bar.

Walsall simply did not turn up for today's game, a poor performance in almost all departments as the visitors took advantage of much sloppy play to force the home side back. Plenty of work to do ahead of Saturday afternoon's Emirates FA Cup Third Round trip to Brentford.

GOALS | Henderson (3'), Andrew (58', 77')
ATTENDANCE | 4,857 (375 Rochdale)
REFEREE | Mr. Graham SALISBURY | Lancashire

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