MATCH REPORT | Rotherham United 5 Walsall 1×
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MATCH REPORT | Rotherham United 5 Walsall 1
 
MATCH REPORT | Rotherham United 5 Walsall 1
MATCH REPORT | Rotherham United 5 Walsall 1
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MATCH REPORT | Rotherham United 5 Walsall 1

10:01 pm Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Sky Bet League One clash between Rotherham United and Walsall.
On Tuesday evening Jon Whitney's Saddlers returned to action as they travelled North to the AESSEAL New York Stadium where they took on Rotherham United. Here is our match report.

Erhun Oztumer got the match underway for the Saddlers, who started brightly with Amadou Bakayoko and Nicky Devlin putting on an early display of pace and skill, without creating any real early chances. Rotherham United soon had the ball up at the other end, winning a free-kick in the fifth minute, which Jon Taylor crossed in from the right, but the Walsall defences were alert to deal with the danger.

Two minutes later, the Saddlers were awarded a free-kick themselves, thanks to a late challenge by Will Vaulks on Joe Edwards. Tyler Roberts stepped up to take the set-piece, but his decent looking effort was thwarted by the wall.

After something of a lull in proceedings, with both sides appearing content to keep the ball in and around the midfield area, the hosts found a breakthrough in the thirteen minute. Captain Lee Frecklington firing a fabulous twenty five yard effort over a hapless Mark Gillespie to gift his side an early lead.

The Saddlers almost levelled the scores in the sixteenth minute, but Bakayoko's headed effort was cleared off the line by the Rotherham defences. The hosts were quick to get the ball back up to the other end, where Taylor was more fortunate with his headed effort, as he got on the end of a Ryan Williams cross, and directed the ball past Gillespie at the near post to double his sides advantage.

There was a brief pause in play as we reached the twentieth minute, while Williams received treatment, but he was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Walsall fell further behind their hosts in the twenty fourth minute, some poor defending allowing Taylor to poke the ball home from close range to put his side three goals to the good. A disappointing goal to concede, with two Saddlers seemingly well placed to prevent it.

The match returned to a midfield battle, with little attacking intent on display, until the thirty first minute, when the Saddlers were caught out again, as a cross from Vaulks out on the right found the head of Frecklington who headed into the top corner to secure his second and his teams fourth of the evening.

Walsall manager, Jon Whitney, responded to his side falling four behind, by making an early change, bringing on Florent Cuvelier in place of Shaun Donnellan.

With forty one minutes on the clock, Amadou Bakayoko became the first player to pick up a yellow card, for an off the ball incident.

Rotherham almost found a fifth goal moments before half time, when Williams found himself one-on-one with Gillespie, but the Walsall shot-stopper got his legs in the way to deny the winger, who then put a follow-up effort wide of the near post. Williams then had another opportunity to further extend his sides lead as we headed into the first of two additional minutes, firing a left-footed volley goal-wards from eight yards out, but Gillespie was again on hand to pull off a superb save.

Rotherham took a seemingly insurmountable, four goal lead into the break, after a disappointing first half display from the Saddlers.

LEAGUE ONE | HT
ROTHERHAM UNITED 4 WALSALL 0

Looking for a route back into the game, the Saddlers made their second change of the evening as the teams returned for the second half, Kieron Morris taking the place of Erhun Oztumer as Frecklington got the match back underway.

The Saddlers soon had the comeback underway, with Bakayoko converting at close range from an Edwards corner kick, bringing his side to within three goals of their hosts. Much better from Walsall, who had shown little real attacking intent during the first half, the half-time talk clearly having an effect.

Walsall continued to press, buoyed by their goal, but Cuvelier's fifty fourth minute effort lacked conviction and was easily dealt with. The hosts then got the ball up to the other end, with Kieffer Moore finding himself with far too much space twenty yards out, but fortunately for the Saddlers, the forwards right-footed strike sailed wide of the near post.

As we headed over the hour mark, there was a brief stoppage as Moore received treatment. He was ultimately unable to continue, forcing the Millers into their first change of the evening, as David Ball took his place.

The following ten or so minutes were a quieter affair, with the hosts seemingly keen to sit back and protect their three goal advantage, whilst the Saddlers struggled to get the ball forward. In the seventieth minute Roberts did well to beat two defenders, setting up Morris in a good position, Vaulks got back and intercepted before the shot could be taken.

With nineteen minutes still to play, the Saddlers made another change to their line-up, replacing Amadou Bakayoko with Daniel Agyei. The Millers also took the opportunity to make a change, with Jon Taylor making way for former Saddler, Anthony Forde.

Agyei wasted little time getting involved, but his seventy second minute, low drive flashed wide of the post without troubling Marek Rodak in the Rotherham goal. Then followed another quieter spell, as the hosts looked to keep the ball, chancing forward on occasion but with little real threat.

With the promised comeback looking increasingly unlikely, the Saddlers won a free-kick nine minutes from time. The ball into the box looked good, but Richard Wood and Michael Ihiekwe defended well, but conceded a corner, which Rodak punched clear.

With eight minutes still to play, the Millers made their final change of the evening introducing Joe Newell replaced Richie Towell.

Rubbing salt into the wounds, Frecklington ensured that all three points would stay in Rotherham, securing the match ball for himself, and a fifth goal for his team in the eighty eighth minute, turning the ball home at the back post as he got on the end of a cross from Forde.

Three additional minutes were played before the misery was brought to an end. The Saddlers showing little attacking intent throughout, despite falling behind, and leaving much to be desired at the back. A truly dismal performance from Whitney's men.

LEAGUE ONE | FT
ROTHERHAM UNITED 5 WALSALL 1
Frecklington (13', 31', 88') Taylor (16', 24') - Bakayoko (49')
ATTENDANCE | 7,330 (280)
REFEREE | Martin Coy


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